Octavio Solis

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Octavio Solis
Octavio Solis, September 2019.jpg
Octavio Solis at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, September 2019
Born1958 (age 61–62)
EducationTrinity University (BFA)
Trinity University (at Dallas Theatre Centre) (MFA)
OccupationPlaywright and director
Spouse(s)Jeanne Sexton

Octavio Solis (born 1958) is an American playwright and director[1] who has had his productions shown in A-list theaters and small companies across the United States. He has written over 25 plays, including his most famous works: Lydia, Santos & Santos and Man of the Flesh. His works have earned numerous awards and grants.

Life and career[edit]

Born in El Paso, Texas, to Mexican parents,[2] Solis started his career in theater by joining his high school, Riverside High School’s (El Paso, TX) theater group when he was fourteen.[3] He received a BFA at Trinity University and went on to earn his MFA at Trinity University's off-campus program at the Dallas Theatre Center.[2] After college, while acting in Eric Overmyer's Native Speech in Dallas, Solis was inspired to write his own plays rather than act in them. In between acting and writing, he taught high school students.[4] He moved to San Francisco in 1989 to further his career, as he felt he was "hitting a glass ceiling" in Dallas, and felt that California would be a good place to participate in the "Mexican American experience".[4]

Solis uses his experiences in life to help create and shape his plays, often drawing directly from his time in El Paso, where he states that he was able to see both the first-world and the third-world from his backyard.[2] In his play Lydia, which focuses on a working-class Mexican-American family and an undocumented maid who arrives in the broken home, he draws upon his own experiences as a Latino living only a mile from the Rio Grande.

In Disney's Coco, Solis voices an Arrival Agent.

Contributions to Latino Theatre[edit]

Octavio Solis has made a large number of contributions to the Latino Theatre community, namely in the number of works he has created that are designed to be for and played by Latino/as. One of his most critically acclaimed works, Lydia, focuses on a Latino family and their maid who recently came from Mexico to work in the states. His importance in the Latino/a community have been widely recognized, as evident by his numerous awards such as his National Latino Playwriting Award and his being awarded the Henry Award for Outstanding New Play.[5] He has also received a number of grants and funds, including the New Works Fund Grant from the Theatre Bay Area and the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays.[5]


Award Dates
Barri and BC Stavis Playwriting Award, National Theatre Conference 1992-93
Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Fund: Writers for Young Audiences (for La Posada Magica) 1992-93
The Will Glickman Award for Best New Play in the Bay Area (for Santos & Santos) 1993
The Roger L. Stevens Award: Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays (for Santos & Santos) 1994
Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays (for Dreamlandia) 1997-98
Playwriting Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts 1995-97
McKnight Fellowship: The Playwrights' Center 1998-99
TCG/NEA Theatre Artists in Residence Grant, Dallas Theater Center 1998–2000
National Theatre Artists Residency Program, Pew Charitable Trusts 2000-02
TCG/NEA Theatre Artists in Residence Grant, Shadowlight Productions 2000-01
National Latino Playwriting Award: Arizona Theatre Center 2002
Creative Work Fund, Campo Santo, Intersection for the Arts 2002-03
New Works Fund Grant, Theatre Bay Area 2006-07
Thornton Wilder Fellow, MacDowell Colony 2008
Denver Post Ovation Award, Best Production (for Lydia) 2008
Henry Award, Outstanding New Play (for Lydia) 2008
Bay Area Critics Circle Mid-Career Achievement Award 2010
United States Artists Fellowship 2011
Pen Center Award for Drama (For Se Llama Cristana) 2014
Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater Award by the William Inge Center for the Arts 2019


Production Theaters Dates
Impatiens Intersection for the Arts, SF, CA August 1990
Scrappers South Coast Repertory, CA
Teatro Milwaukee, WI
Fall 1992-93
May 1995
Man of the Flesh Teatro Dallas, CA

South Coast Repertory, CA
The Magic Theatre, CA
The San Diego Repertory, CA
Latino Chicago Theatre Company
Long Beach Playhouse, CA

Los Medanos College,Pittsburg, CA
24th Street Theater, San Antonio, TX

Oct. 1998
May 1990
Oct. 1990
Feb. 1991
Nov. 1991
May 1997

Oct.-Nov. 2014
Oct. 2005

Prospect El Teatro Campesino
Latino Chicago Theatre Company
The Magic Theatre
North Coast REpertory, CA

University of California, San Diego

April 1993
Sept. 1993
Jan. 1996
May 2002


La Posada Magica Odyssey Theatre Los Angeles
La Companía, Albuquerque, NM
South Coast Repertory
San Jose Repertory, CA
Teatro Visión, San Jose

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
The Guadalupe Center

Dec. 1996
Dec. 1994-2008
Dec. 1995
2000, 2002, 2004


El Paso Blue Intersection for the Arts
The San Diego Repertory
Teatró Vista/NEXT Theatre, Chicago

University of Washington, Seattle
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
The Venture Theatre, Philadelphia, PA
Miracle Theatre Group, Portland, OR
Summer Play Festival, New York, NY
Quantum Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA

Cornish College, Seatte, WA

May 1994
March 1995
Sept. 1997

Feb.-June 1999
Nov. 1999
March 2000
Aug. 2004
Dec. 2006

Nov. 2011

Santos & Santos (Play) Thick Description Company
The Dallas Theater Center
Mixed Blood THeatre Company
Teatro Vista, Chicago
Campo Santo/Thick Description

University of Washington, Seattle

Texas Tech University, Lubbock

Cal State University, Monterey Bay

California State University, Sacramento

University of Texas at El Paso
Imua Theatre Company, New York, NY
Nushank Theatre Collective, Austin, TX
El Centro Su Teatro, Denver, CO
San Pedro Playhouse, Can Antonio, TX
Teatro Visión, San Jose

Dec. 1993
May 1995
Jan. 1996
May 1996
July 1996





July 2000
Dec. 2000
Feb. 2004
March 2005
May 2005

El Otro Thick Description, San Francisco, CA July 1998, Aug.-Sept. 2009
Shiner Undermain Theatre, Dallas, TX 1999
Dreamlandia The Dallas Theater Center
Thick Description
Teatro Vista
May 2000
Aug. 2002
March 2008
The Seven Visions of Encarnación Shadowlight Productions Oct. 2002
Bethlehem Campo Santo, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
Proxy Theatre, San Antonio
July 2003
Aug. 2013
Gibraltar The Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Thick Description, San Francisco, CA
San Jose Stage Company, San Jose, CA
July 2005
Nov.-Dec. 2006
Feb.-March 2007
The Ballad of Pancho and Lucy Campo Santo, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA Oct.-Nov. 2005
Lethe Cornerstone Theatre Institute Aug. 2006
Marfa Lights West Texas State A&M University, TX

St. Mary's College of California

Oct. 2006

Nov. 2006

June in a Box CampoSanto, Intersection for the Arts

St. Mary's College of California

March 2008

November 2011

Lydia (play) The Denver Center for the Performing Arts
Attic Rep, San Antonio, TX
The Yale Repertory Theatre
Marin Theatre Company
Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum
National Pastime Theatre, Chicago

Sul Ross University, Alpine TX
Napa Valley Conservatory Theatre
Cara Mia Theatre Company, Dallas, TX

Jan. 2008
Feb. 2009
March 2009
April 2009
Oct. 2013

Oct. 2013
Jan.-Feb. 2015
April 2015

Quixote The Oregon Shakespeare Festival June 2009
Ghosts of the River Teatro Visión
Shadowlight Productions, San Jose/San Francisco, CA
Oct.-Nov. 2009
October 2009
The Pastures of Heaven California Shakespeare Theatre, Berkeley, CA
The Western Stage, Salinas, CA
June 2010
June 2012
Cloudlands South Coast Repertory Theatre, CA April 2012
Se Llama Cristina Magic Theatre
Kitchen Dog Theatre
Theatre at Boston Court
INTAR Theatre, NY
Jan. 2013
May 2013
Jan.-Feb. 2014
April–May 2015
Alicia's Miracle Tides Theatre in collaboration with the Center for the Investigative Reporting Jan.-Feb. 2015


  • Retablos: Stories From a Life Lived Along the Border, City Lights, 2018


  1. ^ Hurwitt, Robert. "Octavio Solis' Play 'Lydia' Close to Home." SF Gate. 20 Mar. 2009. Web. 28 Nov. 2015. http://www.sfgate.com/performance/article/Octavio-Solis-play-Lydia-close-to-home-3247341.php
  2. ^ a b c Breslauer, Jan. "In Reality, Octavio Solis Mines a New Vein." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr. 2009. Web. 28 Nov. 2015. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-ca-octavio-solis12-2009apr12-story.html
  3. ^ Wilson, Emily. "The Rumpus Interview with Octavio Solis." The Rumpus. 1 Feb. 2013. Web. 28 Nov. 2015. http://therumpus.net/2013/02/the-rumpus-interview-with-octavio-solis/
  4. ^ a b Ebert, Roger. “Coco Review.” (To tired to do the rest). https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/amp/coco-2017
  5. ^ a b c d Singer, Anna. "Octavio Solis." Octavio Solis Playwright and Director. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. http://www.octaviosolis.net/