Lydia R. Diamond
Lydia R. Diamond (b. Detroit, Michigan, April 14, 1969) is an American playwright and professor. Among her most popular plays are The Bluest Eye (2007), an adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel; Stick Fly (2008); Harriet Jacobs (2011); and Smart People (2016). Her plays have received national attention and acclaim, receiving the Lorraine Hansberry Award for Best Writing, an LA Weekly Theater Award, and a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award.
She has taught playwriting at DePaul University, Loyola University, Columbia College Chicago, and Boston University. She is also a Huntington Playwright Fellow and a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists.
Lydia Diamond was born Lydia Gartin in Detroit, Michigan in April 1969. When her parents divorced when she was three, she was primarily raised by her mother. Diamond’s upbringing was artistically-inclined, her mother and grandparents were all musicians and educators. They moved frequently due to her mother’s work, having lived in Amherst, Massachusetts; Carbondale, Illinois; and Waco, Texas where she settled for high school.
Her family wanted her to pursue the violin, like her grandfather, but discovered her love of theatre while in high school after joining the drama club. She would then audition and be accepted to Northwestern University. While there she would make the switch from acting to playwriting.
Towards the end of her college career, Diamond wrote her first play entitled, "Solitaire" which was awarded the Agnes Nixon Playwriting Award at Northwestern. After graduating from Northwestern with a B.A. in Theatre and Performance studies in 1991, she met John Diamond, who was working on getting his Ph.D. in sociology. They would marry in 1996.
Not long after college she went on to form her own Theatre company called "Another Small Black Theatre Company With Good Things To Say and A lot of Nerve Productions". Using her own company she put up Solitaire and other shows at the since closed 'Cafe Voltaire' in Chicago where her acting and writing career blossomed
In 2004, Lydia gave birth to her son, Baylor; and John took on a teaching job at Harvard and they relocated to Boston. Diamond, who had made a name for herself in Chicago as a serious playwright, had to restart her career in New England, all while caring for a newborn. “I went from being playwright-about-town and educator to being faculty wife and new mother, without the buffer of my own community and my very close girlfriends.”
Diamond soon started to gain traction in the city, in 2006 The Huntington Theatre chose her for the Playwriting Fellows program. The Boston theatre company, Company One, produced her adaptation of Toni Morrison’s novel “The Bluest Eye”; the story is that of a young black girl longing for blue eyes so that she may be seen by the world around her. Diamond also started teaching at Boston University around this time.
In 2008, Company One produced her play, "Voyeurs de Venus", which revolves around a young anthropologist who is investigating the life and exploitation of a Saartje Baartman, an African woman paraded through Europe as a sideshow attraction in the 19th century.
- Here I Am…See Can You Handle It
- The Gift Horse (2001)
- Voyeurs de Venus (2006)
- The Bluest Eye (2007)
- Stick Fly (2008)
- Lizzie Stranton (2009)
- Harriot Jacobs (2011)
- Smart People (2016)
- "Exhale Lifestyle Magazine". www.exhalelifestyle.com. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
- "Lydia Diamond stresses history and awareness - The Boston Globe". archive.boston.com. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
- "Lydia R. Diamond | Goodman Theatre". www.goodmantheatre.org. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
- "Lydia R. Diamond, Assistant Professor (Playwriting and Theatre Arts)" Boston University profile. Retrieved Feb 26, 2014.
- "Lydia R. Diamond on Stick Fly", Interview by Joel Markowitz, DC Theatre Scene, January 17, 2010. Retrieved Jan 28, 2010.
- "Playwright Lydia Diamond’s miracle year", by Robert Israel, EDGE Providence, Wednesday Jan 13, 2010. Retrieved Jan 28, 2010.
- "An Interview with Lydia Diamond", McCarter Theatre Center web site, Princeton, NJ