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 various anthologies including: 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. Pending: ARTemis Arts Wisdom Anthology, Performing #MeToo: How Not to Look Away, The Children of the People: Writings by and about CUNY Students on Race and Social Justice, She Persisted: 30 Ten-Minute Plays by Women Over 40, and She Persisted: Monologues from Plays by Women Over 40. Other writings include various articles and blog posts: The Dramatists Guild Blog, I Write about Playwrights: #1087 Yvette Heyliger, The Native Society: Personalizing Thought Leadership, The Dramatist, Continuum: The Journal of African Diaspora Drama, Theatre and Performance, Black Masks: Spotlight on Black Art, and HowlRound.
Yvette is the recipient of the AUDELCO Recognition Award for Excellence in Black Theatre’s August Wilson Playwright Award and Dramatic Production of the Year. She received a Best Playwright nomination from NAACP’s Annual Theatre Awards. After many years in front of the footlights, Yvette returned to the stage as a solo-artist in her one-woman show, Bridge to Baraka, which she performed in the United Solo Theatre Festival and the National Black Theatre Festival among others.
Memberships: Dramatist Guild, AEA, SDC and AFTRA-SAG. She currently serves as a Dramatist Guild NYC Ambassador and on the executive committee of Honor Roll! She is the former VP of Programing on the Board of the League of Professional Theatre Women.
A producing artist, Yvette was the co-recipients of the first National Black Theatre Festival Emerging Producer Award. Yvette lives in Harlem, USA.
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 just finished a short play called "The Most Loving Thing to Do". In it, we meet Roslyn Wilkins, the mother of Nizah Morris, a transwoman who was murdered in 2002. An entertainer and Buddhist, Nizah was a much beloved figure in Philadelphia, yet her murder remains a cold case. As one trans civil rights lawyer said, "If Nizah were white, this case would have been solved already!”
Spiritual, Family, Political, Historical, BIPOC, Dramady, Equity, Social Justice, Women+, Parity, Black Lives Matter