Larissa FastHorse

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Larissa FastHorse is a Native American (Sicangu Lakota) playwright and choreographer based in Santa Monica. FastHorse grew up in South Dakota,[1] where she began her career as a ballet dancer and choreographer but was forced into an early retirement after ten years of dancing[2] due to an injury.[3] Returning to an early interest in writing, she became involved in Native American drama, especially the Native American film community.[2][4] Later she began writing and directing her own plays, several of which are published through Samuel French (a Concord Theatricals Company) and Dramatic Publishing.[3][5] With playwright and performer Ty Defoe, FastHorse co-founded Indigenous Direction, a "a consulting firm that helps organizations and individuals who want to create accurate work by, for and with Indigenous peoples."[6] Indigenous Direction's clients include the Guthrie Theater.[7] FastHorse is the vice chair of the Theatre Communications Group, which is the national organization for the American theatre that offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research, and communications.[8]


FastHorse was a delegate in 2000 to the United Nations in Geneva, where she spoke on the power film can have for Indigenous peoples.[4] FastHorse then chose to broaden her experience and shifted from a career as a dancer and choreographer, to feature television and film development.[4]

FastHorse worked for Universal Pictures before joining Latham Entertainment at Paramount as a creative executive; she produced two short films, The Migration and A Final Wish, before again switching focus, this time from television and film production to writing and directing.[4][9]

While writing and working on many projects of her own making, FastHorse also served as a panelist for The Film and Video Fellowships which was formerly named the Rockefeller Fellowship.[4] In addition to the Film and Video Fellowships, she has been involved with many other networks and theatre companies: she has written commissioned pieces for the Alter Theatre in San Rafael, CA;[3][5] Cornerstone Theatre Company;[1] and Native Voices at the Autry[1][3] both located in Los Angeles, CA, as well as the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, MN;[3] the Kennedy Center for Young Audiences in Washington, D.C.;[3] and for Mountainside Theater in Cherokee, N.C.[1][3] She has developed new plays with the Arizona Theatre Company, Tucson, AZ;[3] the Center Theatre Group Writer's Workshop, Los Angeles, CA;[3] and Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor, Berkeley, CA.[3] Her play Urban Rez, created with Cornerstone Theater, portrays the experience of Indigenous people in Los Angeles County, home to the U.S.'s second-largest Indigenous population.[10] The Thanksgiving Play was begun with a fellowship from the Guthrie Theater and developed through readings including at DC's Center Stage Play Lab in 2016;[11][12] it was produced by Artists Repertory Theatre in Oregon in April 2018.[13] Both The Thanksgiving Play in 2017[14] and What Would Crazy Horse Do? in 2014 were featured on the annual "Kilroys' List" of "recommended un- and underproduced new plays by female and trans authors of color."[15][16] What Would Crazy Horse Do?, a comedy inspired by historical interest by the KKK in collaborations with Indigenous groups,[17][18] was featured in the Lilly Awards' 2015 reading series with performers Emily Bergl, Jesse Perez, and Madeline Sayet.[19] The Thanksgiving Play also secured FastHorse's off-Broadway playwright debut, with an October 2018 production announced by Playwrights Horizons, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel and starring Margo Seibert, Jennifer Bareilles, Jeffrey Bean, and Greg Keller.[20]

As part of her production contract as a playwright, FastHorse requires that the theatre hire at least one other Indigenous artist for the production, and showcase at least one other Indigenous artist's work in the building.[13]

Honors and awards[edit]

  • FastHorse completed a 2006 fellowship from Fox Diversity Writer's Initiative Programs[4]
  • recipient of the 2015-2016 Joe Dowling Annaghmakerig Fellowship Award[1]
  • National Endowment for the Arts Distinguished New Play Development Grant[3]
  • AATE Distinguished Play Award[3]
  • William Inge Center for the Arts Playwriting Residency[3]
  • Sundance Institute-Ford Foundation Fellowship[3][5]
  • Aurand Harris Fellowship
  • member of the Center Theatre Group Writer’s Workshop in 2011-2012 [5]
  • Two for New Works grant recipient[5]
  • National Geographic Seed Grant [5]
  • PEN/USA Literary Award for Drama[21]
  • Delegate to the UN in Geneva[5]
  • Center Stage's Wright Now, Play Later Project, 2016[11]

Television credits[edit]

Theatre credits[edit]



  • Meeting Mom is an original short story about FastHorse's feelings after meeting her birthmother for the first time.[3][4]
  • Average Family was a piece commissioned by the Children's Theater Company.[3][5][22]
  • Fancy Dancer was also based on FastHorse's life, won FastHorse the 2010 National Endowment for the Arts Distinguishing New Play Development Grant.[5] It was not directed by FastHorse, however, but instead by Peter Brosius.[5]
  • Lazarus Rises was able to run a staged reading funded by the Sundance Institute/ Ford Foundation Fellowship and Grant.[4] Lazarus Rises is an autobiographical metaphor that follows three differently disabled Native Americans veterans as they adventure across the state of South Dakota.[4] Surprisingly enough, the blind man is behind the wheel.[4]
  • Urban Rez is a community-engaged production that was created by FastHorse in collaboration with members of the Native American community of Los Angeles.[23]
  • Teaching Disco Square Dancing to Our Elders: A Class Presentation was the first of three commission with the Native Voices at the Autry in Los Angeles.[3][5][24]
  • Cherokee Family Reunion premiered in July 2012 at the Alter Theatre in association with the Cherokee Historical Association.[3][5]
  • A Dancing People was commissioned by the Kennedy Center Theatre for Young Audiences. The play brings together writing backgrounds as well as dance to blend together spoken words and dancing movements.[5][25]
  • Hunka was invited to be a part of the Arizona Theatre Company's Inaugural Cafe Bohemia season.[5]
  • Landless[26]
  • The Thanksgiving Play[27]
  • What Would Crazy Horse Do?[28]
  • Native Nation[29]
  • Cow Pie Bingo Commissioned and produced by Alter Theatre 2018[30]


FastHorse is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Lakota people.[3] She lives with husband, sculptor Edd Hogan, in Santa Monica.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Editors, American Theatre (2015-09-16). "Larissa FastHorse Receives Fellowship From the Guthrie". AMERICAN THEATRE. Retrieved 2016-05-08.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b Heffley, Lynne (2008-02-05). "Writing is a dance". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Larissa FastHorse". Dramatic Publishing. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k, Anne Shuff @. "Plays for Young Audiences". Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Alter Theater". Alter Theater. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  6. ^ Group, TCG: Theatre Communications. "2017 Fall Forum on Governance: Turning the Tide". Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  7. ^ "TCG Fall Forum: A Collegial Conversation About Systemic Challenges". AMERICAN THEATRE. 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  8. ^ "TCG: Theatre Communications Group > About Us > Mission, Vision, and Values". Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  9. ^ "Larissa FastHorse". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  10. ^ "'Urban Rez' Explores What It Means To Be Native American". Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  11. ^ a b "An Interview with Playwright Larissa FastHorse - DC Metro Theater Arts". DC Metro Theater Arts. 2016-10-10. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  12. ^ Benson, Mitchel (2018-07-05). "'Thanksgiving Play' gone off the rails? That's the genius in Capital Stage's comedy". The Sacramento Bee. ISSN 0890-5738. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  13. ^ a b "Native Women Rising". AMERICAN THEATRE. 2018-03-20. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  14. ^ "The Kilroys Releases Fourth Annual "The List" | Playbill". Playbill. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  15. ^ "The Kilroys Were Here (at the Lillys' Behest)". AMERICAN THEATRE. 2015-03-18. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  16. ^ "ABOUT THE LIST | The Kilroys". The Kilroys. 2015-06-12. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  17. ^ "Native Americans, The KKK And Keeping The 'Blood Pure'". Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  18. ^ Uno, Roberta (2017-09-14). Contemporary Plays by Women of Color: An Anthology. Routledge. pp. xx. ISBN 9781317280446.
  19. ^ Kang, Inkoo (2015-03-05). "America Ferrera, Kate Mulgrew, Emily Bergl to Read 3 Plays from Lilly Awards' Kilroys' List". IndieWire. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  20. ^ "Larissa FastHorse's The Thanksgiving Play Finds Its Cast Off-Broadway | Playbill". Playbill. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  21. ^ "Larissa FastHorse - Playwright/Choreographer". HoganHorse Studio. Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  22. ^ Brosius, Peter; Adams, Elissa (2011). The Face of America: Plays for Young People. U of Minnesota Press. pp. xi. ISBN 9781452932934.
  23. ^ "Urban Rez: Playwright Larissa FastHorse on the Urban Indian Experience". KCET. 2016-03-19. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  24. ^ Miller, Daryl H. (2008-02-11). "Tender truths set to do-si-do disco". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  25. ^ Bowling, Caitlin. "New outdoor drama debuts at Cherokee's Mountainside Theater". Smoky Mountain News. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  26. ^ "Theater review: 'Landless' tells tales with a social bent". SFGate. 2015-01-11. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  27. ^ ACENA, TJ (April 10, 2018). "About that turkey of a play ..." Oregon ArtsWatch. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  28. ^ FastHorse, Larissa (2018). "What Would Crazy Horse Do?". Contemporary plays by women of color : an anthology. Uno, Roberta, 1956- (Second ed.). London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138189454. OCLC 989726525.
  29. ^ "Larissa Theater Resume". HoganHorse Studio. Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  30. ^ "Larissa Theater Resume". HoganHorse Studio. Retrieved 2019-12-13.

External links[edit]