Tanya Barfield Named New Co-Director of Juilliard's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program

Education News   Tanya Barfield Named New Co-Director of Juilliard's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program
Barfield replaces Marsha Norman, who will step down at the end of the 2019–2020 academic year following a 25-year tenure.
Tanya Barfield
Tanya Barfield Monica Simoes

Playwright and Juilliard alum Tanya Barfield will join David Lindsay-Abaire as co-director of Juilliard's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program beginning fall 2020, succeeding Pulitzer-winning playwright Marsha Norman in the post.

“I’m thrilled to join David as co-director of the playwrights program next fall,” says Barfield. “Having had the honor of studying with Marsha as well as serving as Juilliard’s literary manager, I am deeply connected to the program. It’s a place to exchange ideas, teach and learn writing—and also it’s a return home.”

Marsha Norman Simon Luethi

“Teaching with David, and Christopher Durang before David, has been one of the great joys of my career,” says Norman. “We have not ‘taught’ playwriting but rather listened to plays, talked about plays, told the writers what working playwrights go through, and gotten them ready for the critical decisions and collaborations that will make the difference in their careers as artists. I’m thrilled that Tanya will succeed me as co-director with David. She was one of my favorites at Juilliard. She was my assistant on the book for the musical The Color Purple and she is one of the most generous, thoughtful, and funny people I know—and that’s exactly what I look for in humans."

“We’re grateful for Marsha’s 25-year tenure, which has built this program into an incredible incubator for playwriting talent," says Juilliard's Drama Division Director Evan Yionoulis. "Her generosity and mentorship have shaped a generation of writers, and we celebrate her remarkable legacy. We’re delighted that Tanya and David, both acclaimed playwrights who studied with Marsha at Juilliard, will continue to inspire and challenge our students to tell the diverse stories that only they can tell, stories that speak to the times with clarity and boldness.”

Barfield's works includes such plays as Bright Half Life, The Call, 121º West, Blue Door, and Dent, which have been produced Off-Broadway and at regional theatres across the country. She received a Lilly Award and the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award, and shares a WGA Award for her work on TV's The Americans. Bright Half Life was a 2016 LAMBDA Literary Award winner.

Bright Half Life will be presented by Juilliard Drama November 6–10, in a production directed by faculty member Rebecca Guy.

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