FAYETTEVILLE, ARK.: TheatreSquared (T2) has announced U .S. poet laureate and Muscogee (Creek) Nation member Joy Harjo as their 2021 Artist in Residence. She will work with TheatreSquared’s artistic team to develop her first full-length musical, focused on the musical legacy of Native peoples. The current title is We Were There When Jazz Was Invented.
“I’m excited to work with TheatreSquared, which has such a fine reputation for development of new plays,” said Harjo in a statement. “I appreciate, too, that the theatre is located in my mother’s homeland.”
“It’s been such a pleasure to get to know Joy, and it is a privilege to host her as our 2021 Artist in Residence at TheatreSquared,” said executive director/producer Martin Miller in a statement.
“This work is so important to T2’s mission and vision,” said director of new-play development Dexter Singleton in a statement. “We look forward to working not only with Joy, but also connecting through this partnership with the vibrant arts community in our neighboring Tulsa.”
Harjo is a performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation currently serving her third term as the 23rd poet laureate of the United States. She has authored nine poetry books, including An American Sunrise, several plays and children’s books, and two memoirs, Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior. Harjo has been honored with the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, two NEA fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. As a musician and performer, she has produced seven award-winning music albums, including her newest I Pray for My Enemies. She is executive editor of the anthology When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through—A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry, and the editor of Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry, the companion anthology to her poet laureate project. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, board of directors chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and holds a Tulsa Artist Fellowship. She lives in Tulsa, Okla.
The Artist in Residency program is an extension of TheatreSquared’s Arkansas New Play Festival. Through the ANPF, T2 aims to champion plays addressing social, economic and racial issues. The 2021 Arkansas New Play Festival is supported by Barbara Shadden, in memory of Harry Shadden, and by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Support American Theatre: a just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. Please join us in this mission by making a donation to our publisher, Theatre Communications Group. When you support American Theatre magazine and TCG, you support a long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism. Click here to make your fully tax-deductible donation today!