Early life and education
Barfield was raised in Portland, Oregon. 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, Dent, The Houdini Act, Medallion, Of Girl & Wolf and Wanting North, Pecan Tan and The Quick. 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. It was then produced at the Off-Broadway Playwrights Horizons in September 2006 to October 2006, directed by Leigh Silverman. 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." It also was produced at the Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2007, Berkeley Repertory and Harare International Festival of the Arts, Zimbabwe (HIFA). Blue Door was developed at the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, Utah, in 2005. 
On June 29, 2008, her play Of Equal Measure premiered at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, California directed by Leigh Silverman 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. 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." 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.
Awards and honors
She was nominated for the 2007 Audelco Award, Playwright, for Blue Door.
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