Marisela Treviño Orta

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Marisela Treviño Orta
EducationSouthwestern University (BA)
University of San Francisco (MFA)
University of Iowa (MFA)

Marisela Treviño Orta is a third-generation Mexican-American playwright and poet from Lockhart, Texas.[1] She attended the University of San Francisco where she received an MFA in Writing.[2] While she was trained in poetry, Treviño Orta began writing plays after becoming the resident poet for El Teatro Jornalero!, a Latino theatre company which focuses on social justice issues.[3]


Marisela Treviño Orta was first attracted to theatre and playwriting during her time as the resident poet at El Teatro Jornalero!. She was attracted to the theatre community, as she found poetry was often a lonely craft.[3] Additionally, she found it was easier to explore political and social justice themes in playwriting, which she could not do in her poetry.[3]

The playwright found immediate success with her first play Braided Sorrow, which won the 2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in Drama.[4] This play was accepted into the 2005 Bay Area Playwrights Festival and officially premiered at Su Teatro in Denver, CO. Since then, she has written other successful plays including Heart Shaped Nebula, The River Bride, and American Triage, which was a commissioned by Marin Theatre Company, and Woman on Fire, which was commissioned by the Latino Playwrights Initiative.[4] She is a 2011 alumna of the Playwright Foundation’s Resident Playwright’s Initiative and a current student of the University of Iowa’s Playwrights Workshop.[5]

Treviño Orta is currently in the process of completing a trilogy of plays inspired by Latina/o mythology[6] and the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.[3] The River Bride, the first of the three, is set in Brazil and is inspired by Amazonian folklore and premiered February 21, 2016 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.[7] Wolf at the Door, the second of the three, is set in Mexico and has Mesoamerican beliefs as a theme. Alcira, the third and final play in the trilogy, will be set in San Francisco and be inspired by Aztec themes. The playwright talks about feeling inspired by the Brothers Grimm to begin writing plays that were old-school fairytales in nature, or cautionary tales for adults with Latino themes that are drawn from Latino mythology or folklore.[3]

Involvement in the theatre community[edit]

Treviño Orta is currently a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Latinx Theatre Commons, and is a founding member of the Bay Area Latino Theatre Artists Network.[5]


  • Braided Sorrow[8]
  • Heart Shaped Nebula[9]
  • The River Bride[10]
  • American Triage[11]
  • Woman on Fire
  • Wolf at the Door[12]
  • Alcira[13]
  • Ghost Limb[14]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2006 Chicano/a Literary Prize Drama Braided Sorrow Won
2009 Pen Center USA Literary Award Drama Braided Sorrow Won
2012 Repertorio Español MetLife Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition N/A American Triage Runner-up
2012 O'Neill Playwrights Conference N/A Heart Shaped Nebula Semi-finalist
2013 Aurora Theatre Global Age Project N/A Heart Shaped Nebula Finalist
2013 National Latino Playwriting Award N/A The River Bride
2017 50 Playwrights Project[15]'s Best Unproduced Latin@ Plays 2017 N/A Wolf at the Door Finalist


  1. ^ Treviño Orta, Marisela. "I Interview Playwrights Part 310: Marisela Treviño Orta." Interview by Adam Szymkowicz. Aszym. Blogger, 28 Jan. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.
  2. ^ "Marisela Treviño Orta." HowlRound. Emerson College, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e Treviño Orta, Marisela. "Coffee and Chat: Marisela Treviño Orta." Interview by Abel Muñoz. HowlRound. Emerson College, 27 Oct. 2015. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.
  4. ^ a b Marisela Treviño Orta." New Play Exchange. National New Play Network, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015
  5. ^ a b "Marisela Treviño Orta." Dramatists Guild. Dramatists Guild of America, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.
  6. ^ trevorboffone (2016-04-07). "Marisela Treviño Orta". Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  7. ^ "The River Bride". Retrieved September 9, 2017.
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  15. ^ "50PP's Best Unproduced Latin@ Plays 2017". 2017-03-19. Retrieved 2017-09-09.