Tanya Barfield

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Tanya Barfield
Tanya Barfield.jpg
Nationality American
Occupation Playwright

Tanya Barfield is an African-American playwright whose works have been presented both nationally and internationally.[1]


Early life and education[edit]

Barfield was raised in Portland, Oregon.[2] Before becoming a playwright, Barfield was a solo performer, appearing in her one-woman show Without Skin or Breathlessness. She is a graduate of the Juilliard School's Playwriting Program.


Her plays include: The Call, 121° West, Blue Door,[1] Dent, The Houdini Act, Medallion, Of Girl & Wolf and Wanting North, Pecan Tan and The Quick.[3][4] She authored a book for a children's musical entitled Civil War: The First Black Regiment.

Her play Blue Door had its world premiere at the South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, California in May 2006.[5] It was then produced at the Off-Broadway Playwrights Horizons in September 2006 to October 2006, directed by Leigh Silverman.[6] The CurtainUp reviewer noted: "Barfield’s play is filled with words that spin into near poetic riffs and define the past and the present philosophical and cultural attitudes of African-Americans in a unique and refreshing way....The title refers to a family memory and a tradition stemming from the days in the slave quarters when the door was painted blue to "keep the bad spirits out and the soul family in."[7] It also was produced at the Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2007,[8] Berkeley Repertory[9] and Harare International Festival of the Arts, Zimbabwe (HIFA). Blue Door was developed at the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, Utah, in 2005. [10]

On June 29, 2008, her play Of Equal Measure premiered at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, California directed by Leigh Silverman[11] through the sponsorship of the National Endowment for the Arts. The play was a NAACP Theatre Awards nominee.

The Call opened Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in a co-production with Primary Stages in March 2013 to May 2013, directed by Leigh Silverman.[12] The TheatreMania reviewer wrote that "...whatever the work's shortcomings, it's never a bad thing to leave the theater thinking about the problems of the world at large and looking at your own neighbors in a new light."[13] The Call was a New York Times Critic's Pick.

Bright Half Life ran Off-Broadway at the Women's Project Theater in February 2015 to March 2015, directed by Leigh Silverman.[14]


Barfield is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the English Department at Barnard College.[15]

Awards and honors[edit]

Barfield is a recipient of the Lilly Award and the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award.[16][17]

She was nominated for the 2007 Audelco Award, Playwright, for Blue Door.


  1. ^ a b DeVoti, Emily. "Blue Door: Painting within the lines of history with Tanya Barfield" brooklynrail.org, October 2006, Accessed 13 September 2104.
  2. ^ "Barfield, Tanya". Current Biography Yearbook 2011. Ipswich,MA: H.W. Wilson. 2011. pp. 47–50. ISBN 9780824211219. 
  3. ^ Barfield biodata doollee.com
  4. ^ "Tanya Barfield" New Dramatists.org, Accessed 13 September 2014.
  5. ^ McNulty, Charles. "Review. Portals to the past in 'Blue Door' " Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2006
  6. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Barfield's Two-Actor 'Blue Door' Will Swing Open Off-Broadway Sept. 28" playbill.com, August 21, 2006
  7. ^ Saltzman, Simon. "Review. Blue Door " curtainup.com, October 18, 2006
  8. ^ "Press Release" proskore.com, February 7, 2007
  9. ^ "Tanya Barfield" playscripts.com, accessed May 8, 2015
  10. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Sundance Picks Artists and Works for 2005 Summer Theatre Lab, Including Musical About Versace Killer" playbill.com, April 18, 2005
  11. ^ McNulty, Charles. "Theater Review. Shapeless history" Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2008
  12. ^ The Call playwrightshorizons.org, accessed May 8, 2015
  13. ^ Lipton, Brian Scott. "Reviews. The Call " theatermania.com, April 14, 2013
  14. ^ Levitt, Hayley. "World Premiere of Tanya Barfield's 'Bright Half Life' to Open With Women's Project Theater" theatermania.com, January 20, 2015
  15. ^ "Tanya Barfield Listing" english.barnard.edu, accessed May 8, 2015
  16. ^ Playscripts.com
  17. ^ NEARTS/2007 website

External links[edit]