(UPDATED December 8, 2021) YVETTE HEYLIGER is a playwright, producing artist and activist. Author of What a Piece of Work is Man! Full-Length Plays for Leading Women, she has contributed to many anthologies including She Persisted: 30 Ten-Minute Plays by Women Over 40, She Persisted: Monologues from Plays by Women Over 40, ARTemis Arts Wisdom Anthology, Performer Stuff, The Monologue Project, Short Plays on Reproductive Freedom, Later Chapters: The Best Scenes and Monologues for Actors over Fifty, WE ARE THEATRE, 24 Gun Control Plays, The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2003 and The Best Stage Scenes 2003. Textbooks include Performing #MeToo: How Not to Look Away, The Children of the People: Writings by and about CUNY Students on Race and Social Justice. Other writings include various theatre industry-related articles and blog posts for HowlRound, The Dramatists Guild Blog, The Dramatist, Continuum: The Journal of African Diaspora Drama, Theatre and Performance, and Black Masks: Spotlight on Black Art. Awards: AUDELCO Recognition Award for Excellence in Black Theatre’s August Wilson Playwright Award and her play also won Dramatic Production of the Year, NAACP’s Annual Theatre Award Best Playwright nomination, among others; grants and residencies upon request. Yvette and her twin sister Yvonne are producing artists dba Twinbiz. They are co-recipients of the National Black Theatre Festival Emerging Producer Award and a Resolution, City of Los Angeles. Memberships: Dramatist Guild, AEA, SDC, and AFTRA-SAG. Current Service: Dramatist Guild’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Committee, the executive committee of Honor Roll!, and the Legacy Council of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is also the creator and co-chair of LPTW’s Rachel Crothers Leadership Award. Yvette lives in Harlem, USA with her husband of 33 years.
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
MORE ABOUT ME:
I am part of the 93.9% of women of color whose work does not reach production in this nation. Early on I realized that in order to grow as a playwright, I needed to see my work living and breathing on the stage, so I became a producing artist. To ensure that future generations know I was here and had something to say in the American Theatre, I turned to self-publishing. I have street-cred and the respect of my peers, but not the nationally recognized awards and accolades that garner the attention of regional theatres and Broadway producers. Moreover, now in my early sixties, me thinkith I am probably too old to be the next theatre-darling.
My longevity in the theatre is due to how I measure success. I measure success in service. This is not some big turnaround in my thinking. Service alone has defined the trajectory of my life. Case in point; my play about the church, sex, and HIV called, What Would Jesus Do?
A local producer who had picked up the show, wanted me to cut words like “penis” and “gay” from the play, lest I offend her church-going audiences. But I held firm because this play was a dramatic demonstration of God guiding my hand as a playwright, shepherding the plot and speaking through me on behalf of the characters.
I remember watching her sold-out church-going audiences talking back to the stage, shouting favorite lines, singing along, laughing and crying with the characters—some even declaring, “that’s my story”. There was a lot of healing going on and a lot of awareness being raised, all while entertaining. Standing there, I knew my play was anointed. Any doubt I had about the calling I received to write for the theatre was dismissed by the standing ovations. By my measure, I was feeling as successful as the 6.1%.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
I am currently doing research for a new play about Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (later known as Queen Charlotte whom fans of Netflix’s Bridgerton have met!). She is the direct decedent of the black branch of the Portuguese Royal house and by becoming the wife of King George III, is reported to be the great grandmother of today’s Queen Elizabeth. Queen Charlotte precedes actress Megan Markle as the first mixed-race member of the Royal Family, and it is the young Queen Charlotte who is the subject of my play.
Spiritual, Family, Political, Historical, BIPOC, Dramady, Equity, Social Justice, Women+, Parity, Black Lives Matter
Honor Roll ! Members Profiles Project