Catherine Filloux

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Catherine Filloux is a French-American playwright (her mother is from Oran, Algeria and her father from Guéret, France and she lives in New York City.) She has received awards from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, the O'Neill, the MAP Fund, and the Asian Cultural Council. Catherine is the winner of the 2017 Otto René Castillo Award for Political Theatre in New York City, and she received the 2015 Planet Activist Award "to acknowledge Filloux's dedication to art and activism, in the theater community," Planet Connections, New York City. She has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist in playwriting in Cambodia and Morocco.

Filloux's plays have confronted the issue of human rights in many nations. She was first drawn to the subject upon reading of the psychosomatic blindness suffered by a group of Cambodian women after witnessing the massacres of the Khmer Rouge, a story that formed the basis of her 2004 play Eyes of the Heart. She worked with survivors of the Cambodian genocide, developing the oral history project A Circle of Grace with the Cambodian Women's Group at St. Rita's Centre for Immigration and Refugee Services in the Bronx, New York.

Her 2005 play Lemkin's House is based on the life of Raphael Lemkin, the Polish Jew and American immigrant lawyer who invented the word genocide in 1944 and spent his life striving to have it recognized as an international crime.

In her 2010 play, Dog and Wolf, a U.S. asylum lawyer seeks to win asylum for Jasmina, a Bosnian refugee. Filloux says of her play, "[It] is written in the staggered poetry of the effort to connect and articulate," grappling with themes of identity, law, sexuality, and family.[1]

Filloux states "For a while, these crimes were the 'best-kept secrets,' but they're not even secrets. They happen all the time, and nobody cares. And that's the problem on some level with doing this kind of theater. There's just a little wall that's been built up against these things, and to write theater about them is part of the challenge." [2]

In a 2008 interview in The Brooklyn Rail, Filloux stated: "For twenty years I have written about Cambodia, P.T.S.D., genocide and trauma. People have exposed their pain to me. I have tried to understand how such violence can occur, how people can so bravely survive, and I felt the raw need to be honest about myself. ... To hold two opposing things in your hands at the same time and to balance them: I'm in that passage, trying to be Here and There. Last time I went to Cambodia, I felt for the first time I could be in two places at the same time, and not compare. That came from writing this play [Killing the Boss]."[3]


Of her parents, Filloux says, "My dad was born in the center of France, and he became an adventurer," who sailed from France to New York in a catamaran. "My mom was a very literate person who loved literature" and wrote poetry in both French and English. As a child, Filloux moved with her family to San Diego, where she grew up. She says, "We grew up ... in this kind of schism of Algeria, France, and San Diego. So it made for a background of not really knowing where one belongs..." [4]

Filloux received her MFA in dramatic writing from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (NYU) and her French baccalaureate with honors in Toulon, France.


Plays (selected productions)[edit]

  • whatdoesfreemean?
    • 2018 Premiere, Nora's Playhouse, (New York, NY)
    • 2016 Readings at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and College and Community Fellowship, (New York, NY)
  • Kidnap Road
    • 2017 Premiere at La MaMa, 55th Season, (New York, NY)
    • 2016 Presented by Anna Deavere Smith, NYU's Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue, (New York, NY)
    • 2015 Presented by Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice (IPJ) & School of Peace Studies, University of San Diego, The Art of Peace symposium
    • 2015 Headline for Planet Connections Staged Reading Series, Paradise Factory, New York, NY
  • Selma '65
    • 2014-2015 premiere at La Mama 53rd season, (commissioned by Marietta Hedges), New York, NY; US tour to venues around the US
  • Mock Court (Play Commission)
    • 2014 Book Wings Iraq, a collaborative bilingual theatre initiative produced in partnership with The University of Iowa's International Writing Program and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Iowa City, Iowa, and Baghdad, Iraq.
  • Luz
    • 2012 La MaMa, 51st Season, New York, New York
  • Dog and Wolf
    • 2010 59E59 Theaters, New York, New York
    • (Developed at The Playwrights' Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota& New York Theatre Workshop, New York, New York)
  • 2010 Dog and Wolf Community Outreach Project (Watson Arts): Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, New York[5]
  • Killing the Boss
    • 2008 Cherry Lane Theatre, New York, New York
  • Lemkin's House
    • 2007 Season, Rideau de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
    • 2006 McGinn-Cazale Theatre, New York, New York; Producers: Vital Theatre Co. & Body Politic Theater
    • 2006 Season, 78th Street Theatre Lab, New York, New York
    • 2005 Season, Kamerni Teatar 55, Sarajevo, Bosnia; & Roxy Art House, Edinburgh, Scotland
    • 2005 U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC, (Reading co-sponsored by Theater J)
  • The Breach (with Tarell McCraney and Joe Sutton)
    • 2008 Season, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle, Washington
    • 2007 Season, Southern Rep, New Orleans, Louisiana (Premiere/Commission)
  • The Beauty Inside
    • 2005 Season, New Georges, New York, New York (co-produced with InterAct Theatre Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • Eyes of the Heart
    • 2004 Season, National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO), New York, New York
    • 2002 25th Bay Area Playwrights Festival, San Francisco, California
  • Escuela del Mundo
    • 2006/2005 Seasons, The Ohio State University Theatre Department, Columbus, Ohio, with the Office of International Affairs; Toured high schools in Ohio (Premiere/Commission)
  • Silence of God
    • 2002 Season, Contemporary American Theater Festival, Shepherdstown, West Virginia (Premiere/Commission)
  • Mary and Myra
    • 2002 Season, Todd Mountain Theater Project, Roxbury, New York
    • 2000 Season, Contemporary American Theater Festival, Shepherdstown, West Virginia
    • (Videorecording of CATF Production in New York Public Library for Performing Arts, Lincoln Center)
  • Arthur's War
    • 2002 Theatreworks/USA, New York, New York (commission) (Music by Jenny Giering)
  • Price of Madness
    • 1996 Season, Emerging Artists Theatre Company, INTAR, New York, New York
  • All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go
    • Ongoing development for musical with composer Jimmy Roberts (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change) and John Daggett
    • 2009 Lyman Center for the Performing Arts, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, Connecticut
    • 1994 Season, Playwrights Theatre of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Venus in the Birdbath
    • 1990 Season, Alleyway Theatre, Buffalo, New York
  • Cut To: The Deal
    • 2002 Season, Theatre XX, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    • 1988 Season, Brooklyn Playworks, Brooklyn, New York
  • Three Continents
    • 1998 InterAct Theatre Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Reading)
    • 1997 New Georges, New York, New York (Reading)
  • Photographs from S-21 (A Short Play)
    • Produced in the U.S. and around the world, including Cambodia (in Khmer), Singapore, Thailand, India, Denmark, England and France.
  • BPV,, Marriage À Trois, The G Word, Lessons Of My Father, Storks, The Sun Always Rose, The Russian Doll, White Trash, Visiting Hours
    • These short plays were produced at Play2C Studio Berlin, Germany; HB Playwrights Theatre, New York, New York; Immigrants' Theatre Project/Women Without Borders, New York, New York; New Georges, "Watch This Space: A New Georges Anthology", HERE, New York, New York; Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab & Culture Project's "Brothers Karamazov", New York, New York; Women's Project, New York, New York; Yale Cabaret, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; University of California, San Diego Theatre Festival, San Diego, California

Opera (selected productions)[edit]

  • Orlando based on the novel by Virginia Woolf
    • 2019 Season, Composer Olga Neuwirth, Commissioned by the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera House), Vienna, Austria
  • New Arrivals
    • 2012 Season, Houston Grand Opera, Song of Houston: East + West, Houston, Texas, Composer John Glover (Premiere/Commission)
  • Where Elephants Weep
    • 2008 Chenla Theater, Phnom Penh, Cambodia and CTN TV Broadcast, Composer Him Sophy (Commissioned by Cambodian Living Arts)
  • The Floating Box: A Story in Chinatown
    • 2001 Season, Asia Society, New York, New York, Composer Jason Kao Hwang (Premiere/Commission); New World Records CD Release (Aaron Copland Fund)

Currently in development[edit]

  • Musical All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go with Composer Jimmy Roberts (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change) and John Daggett, based on Filloux's play


  • 2000 Play Eyes of the Heart: Developed for Lifetime Television
  • 1999 Priscilla's Story: Screenplay treatment, Malvina Douglas Productions, New York, New York
  • 1990 Alter Ego: Based on the novel, Vestments, by Alfred Alcorn
  • 1988 Prodigal Son: Optioned by Justine Bateman, Bateman Co., Los Angeles, California


  • (Ongoing) Artist in Residence, La MaMa, New York, New York
  • 2017 Otto René Castillo Award for Political Theatre, New York, NY
  • 2016 First Art & Peacebuilding Scholar, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, University of San Diego, CA
  • 2015 The Clementine, poem nominated for the Pushcart Small Press Publishing Awards (published in the Prairie Journal, Alberta, Canada)
  • 2015 Planet Activist Award, to acknowledge Filloux's dedication to art and activism, in the theater community, Planet Connections, New York, NY
  • 2015 Kidnap Road, Headliner Planet Connections reading series, Paradise Factory, New York, NY
  • 2014 American Theatre Magazine: 14 Theatrical Plans to Change the World (Selma '65)
  • 2014 LMCC The Fund for Creative Communities Grant, New York, NY
  • 2014 LMCC Manhattan Community Arts Fund Grant, New York, NY
  • 2014 Brooklyn Arts Council Community Arts Grant, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2013 Ethelwyn Doolittle Justice and Outreach Committee grant, New York, NY
  • 2012 Honorary Jury, Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance, Saroyan Prize for Playwriting, Pasadena, CA *2012 – Manhattan Community Arts Fund grant, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York, New York
  • 2012 – The Fund for Creative Communities grant, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and NYSCA, New York, New York
  • 2012 – Local Arts Support, Brooklyn Arts Council/NYSCA, Brooklyn, New York
  • 2011 – Lambent Foundation grant, Tides Center, New York, New York
  • 2011 – Henry Smith Artist in Residence Programme in Belfast's Woodvale Cambrai Community Centre and Holy Cross/Wheatfield Primary Schools, The Playhouse Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland
  • 2010 – Voice Award for Artistic Works (Voices of Women), San Diego, California
  • 2010 – Hermitage Artist Retreat, Englewood, Florida
  • 2010 – Manhattan Community Arts Fund grant, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York, New York
  • 2010-2007 – Core Writer, The Playwrights' Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • 2009 – New Generations-Future Collaborations Award, Mellon Foundation/TCG, New York, New York
  • 2006 – PeaceWriting Award (Omni Center for Peace), Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • 2006 – MAP Fund, New York, New York(The Breach/Southern Rep)
  • 2006-1998 – Five-time Heideman Award Finalist (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Louisville, Kentucky
  • 2006 – The William Inge Center for the Arts Playwright-In-Residence, Independence, Kansas
  • 2005 – The Joe A. Callaway Award, New Dramatists, New York, New York
  • 2005 – Critic's Choice, Opera News, New York, New York
  • 2004 – Jury for 44th MES International Theater Festival Sarajevo, Bosnia
  • 2004 – Fulbright Senior Specialist, Higher Institute of Drama & Cultural Animation; Rabat, Morocco
  • 2003 – Fulbright Senior Specialist, Royal University of Fine Arts; Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • 2003 – James Thurber Playwright-In-Residence, Columbus, Ohio
  • 2001 – Asian Cultural Council Artist's Residency Grant in Asia (Cambodia), New York, New York
  • 2001 – L. Arnold Weissberger Award Finalist, New York, New York
  • 2000 – MAP Fund, New York, New York, and NEA grant, Washington, DC (The Floating Box/Asia Society)
  • 2000 – Community Arts Grant, Bronx Council on the Arts, Bronx, New York
  • 1999 – Roger L. Stevens award: The Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, Washington, DC
  • 1996 – Eric Kocher Playwrights Award, National Playwrights Conference, O'Neill Theater Center, Connecticut


  1. ^ Johnson, Christine Toy (February 2010). "Entre Chien et Loup with Catherine Filloux". The Brooklyn Rail.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-11-08. Retrieved 2006-08-16.
  3. ^ Stryk, Lydia (February 2008). "Red Monkey in the Middle: Between Two Worlds with Catherine Filloux". The Brooklyn Rail.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-11-08. Retrieved 2006-08-16.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2012-01-03.

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