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Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Yvette Heyliger

Yvette Heyliger, member of League of Professional Theatre WomenDramatist / Director / Producing Artist (Twinbiz)
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
Inside.  Meditation is a good tool for tapping into one’s creativity and inspiration.  Also current events and issues affecting society that resonate with me and would be good subjects for utilizing theatre as a tool for social change and entertainment.

What’s your favorite book / movie / line from a play / pop culture guilty pleasure / cocktail?
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela/ Gandhi starring Ben Kingsley/ “I found God in myself and I loved HER fiercely,” from For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange and “Why didn’t I fight harder?  Why didn’t I picket the White House, all by myself if nobody would come?” from The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer/ the CBS reality show, Survivor/ Wishful Thinking (a chocolate port).

What play or production changed your life?
Master Harold… and the Boys on Broadway.  By the end of the play, I was unable to move or speak.  When the house lights came up in the theatre, I was weeping uncontrollably for some time.  I sensed an usher hovering nearby who probably wanted to ask me to exit the theatre, but didn’t.  Eventually, I collected myself and left, but I was changed.  Athol Fugard’s play allowed me to see that it was possible to use theatre as an agent for social change and empowerment while still entertaining.  His play directly affected the dramatist I was to become.  It sounds cliché, but I too want to help create a better world, one ticket buyer at a time.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Having my plays presented on stages around the country; giving an acceptance speech at the Tony Awards; taking a road-trip to see America.

What is your best escape?
Writers’ colonies.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
That racism, sexism and classism have worn me down (but not beaten me); and that I worry that I won’t see parity for women theatre artists, especially women theatre artists of color, in my lifetime.

Yvette Heyliger National Black Theatre Festival Emerging Producer Award; Planet Connections Theatre Festivity’s Outstanding Play with Music Award for White House Wives: Operation Lysistrata!; AUDELCO Recognition Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre’s August Wilson Playwright Award for What Would Jesus Do?; What A Piece of Work Is Man!: Plays for Leading Women coming 2012.


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