Hamilton Dramaturgy's TheatreNow!

Yvette Heyliger on the Artist as Activist

Here is a new HowlRound article by TheatreNow! Season One guest Yvette Heyliger.

Excerpt: “Artists are the gate keepers of truth. We are civilization’s radical voice.” so said singer, actor, social activist, lawyer and athlete, the great Paul Robeson. Robeson may not have been the first, but he was certainly one of the most outspoken citizen-artists of his day, choosing to set aside his theatrical career to become politically involved—fighting for the causes he believed in, even though it meant his own financial ruin.

What makes a human being, against his own “best interests,” fight for those less fortunate, for the voiceless and the downtrodden?

– See more at: http://howlround.com/artist-as-activist-civilization%E2%80%99s-radical-voice#sthash.ijwCZ3oF.dpuf


Congratulations to Season One Guest Yvette Heyliger, who continues to perform her one woman show BRIDGE TO BARAKA. Catch her in NY or LA. Yvette completed an MFA in Playwrighting from Queens College a couple of years ago, and has returned to the stage as well as continuing as an active producer.

Yvette Heyliger on stage

1 More Show in NY for Black History Month
1 Show in LA for Women’s History Month

Playwright/actor Yvette Heyliger is pleased to announce that during Back History Month she will be performing 30 minutes of her solo show, Bridge to Baraka, directed by Mario Giacalone in John Chatterton’s Midwinter Madness Short Play Festival. The remaining show is on Sunday, February 24th @ 4:15pm, Roy Arias Theatre, 300 West 43rd Street # 402 (at 8th Avenue). Tickets are $13.00. Click here to purchase your tickets today! A Talk back with the playwright following the show can be arranged upon request

Emboldened by the 1960’s Black Arts Movement, Yvette X stakes her claim as a female dramatist coming of age during the ongoing fight for parity in the American Theatre. Bridge to Baraka is Yvette’s first one-woman show and marks her return to performing since appearing on the NBC hit, Cosby Show. Martin Denton, nytheatre.com critic, said, “Heyliger has clearly carved out a successful life for herself since then as actor and then playwright/activist (she’s a notable campaigner for parity for women playwrights on the American stage).”

During Women’s History Month, Yvette is pleased to announce that she will be heading to the West Coast to perform Bridge to Baraka in the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival. The show will be at the Renberg Theater on Friday, March 22nd @ 8pm. For tickets and information visit http://www.lawtf.org.

Photo by Miriam Berkley

Yvette Heyliger on the Air

RE-AIRING SATURDAY @ 8:30PM! AUDELCO winner, playwright/producer, Obama Fellow YVETTE HEYLIGER on INSIDE NEW YORK. Three ways to tune in! Time Warner Cable, channel 56; http://www.mnn.org, channel 2; or RNC channel 83.

Yvette talks with host Joan Allen about her career in theater as an actress (Cosby Show), producing artist (Twinbiz) and playwright and the plight of women in theater today! She recently produced, “A Seat at the Table,” a standing room only reading of 10 minute plays by women of color! Yvette also discusses the role of activism and her decision to become a volunteer in Obama’s re-election campaign. Don’t miss it!

Master List of Artists on TheatreNow! Podcasts

Thank you for visiting TheatreNow!’s blog. Our podcasts and transcripts are now located on the site http://hamiltondramaturgystheatrenow.com

Please click on the titles below to listen to the podcasts. And make sure to subscribe to the website so you’ll receive all of our new interviews!

Season 1

Inaugural Episode  – Quiara Alegria Hudes, Playwright and Librettist

Episode 2 – Claire Lautier, Actress

Episode 3 – Ruth Margraff, Musician, Composer, and Playwright

Episode 4 – Kristin Marting, Artistic Director, Producer, and Director

Episode 5 – Valentina Fratti, Artistic Director, Producer, and Director

Episode  6 – Catherine Filloux, Parts 1 and 2, Playwright

Episode 7-  Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow, Parts 1 and 2

Yvette Heyliger, Producer, Playwright, and Director

Yvonne Farrow, Producer, Actor, and Choralographer

Season 2

Episode 1 – Kamilah Forbes, Artistic Director, Director, and Actor

Episode 2 – Laura Maria Censabella, Playwright, Screenwriter, and Educator

Episode 3 – Paule Constable, Lighting Designer

Episode 4 – Fran Tarr, Playwright, Filmmaker, and Educator

Episode 5 – Jennifer Tipton. Lighting Designer

Season 3

Episode 1 – Kate Valk, Actress, The Wooster Group

Episode 2 – Rae Smith, Set and Costume Designer

Episode 3 – Margo Jefferson, Theatre and Cultural Critic

Episode 4 – Maria Alexandria Beech, Playwright, Bookwriter and Lyricist

Episode 5 – Murielle Borst Tarrant, Playwright, Director, Producer

Episode 6 – Judith Malina, Co-Founder, The Living Theatre

Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.


Here is the latest news from Season One’s guests Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow, who continue to show civic pride and responsibility.


Calling all Playwrights, Actors, and Directors

Writing the Election is a non-partisan theatre/voter registration event.  This purpose of this event, supported by Classical Theatre of Harlem and New Black Fest, is to come together as a theatre community to share our work in the service of boosting low voter registration.  The Daily News reported that, “New York ranks 47th in the nation, with less than 64% of eligible residents registered.”  The last day to register to vote In New York is Tuesday, October 9th.

Writing the Election 2012. Produced by Twinbiz and hosted by Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre on Monday, October 29th in Harlem  This non-partisan community event is free and open to the public.  On-going voter registration will be held in the lobby.  You can RSVP for this event on President Obama’s web site.

In this non-partisan theatre/voter registration event, writers of all stripes are invited to submit ten-minute plays, short scenes or monologues about the upcoming presidential election. Subject matter can include (but is not limited to) any aspect of the political process: the issues, civic life, government, ideals vs. reality, leadership, public service, voting, etc. Diversity of opinions on either side of the aisle and in-between are welcome! These non-partisan plays, moderated by a guest political pundit, are being read to celebrate the joy of democracy and to inspire citizens to get out and vote on Election Day.

Scripts must be submitted no later than September 21st at 11:59pm.  For more information and to submit your play* or your directing resume, please contact: Yvette Heyliger at  Writing the Election. Actors with cold-reading skills should email/bring pix and resume for on-site casting beginning at 6:00pm.  There is no submission fee for playwrights.  There is no compensation for the actors or directors.
* Plays should be no longer than ten pages, in 12 point Times New Roman font, and in standard playwriting format.  Monologues should be one page only and in 12 point Times New Roman font.

Twinbiz in New York June 28th
Congratulations to Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow, who were guests in Season One. They will appear on Thursday in NYC in a new play by Yvette.
A New Play by
Yvette Heyliger
competing in
The Ken Davenport
Ten-Minute Play Contest
Middle-aged twin sisters, Bernadine and Bernadette, seek an autograph and some face-time with the heart throb of stage and screen to whom they gave an unforgettable night in their youth.  Showtime: Thursday, June 28th @ 7pm; 250 West 49th Street, 3rd floor; tickets are only ten bucks! The audience helps distinguished judges pick the $500 grand prize winner!  Featuring twins, Yvette and Yvonne, with direction by Mario Giacalone

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Program

TheatreNow! guests Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow continue their involvement in groundbreaking grassroots theatre and community programs. Here is a recent press release from their creation, the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Program

Awareness & Prevention through “Edutainment”

A Free Community Event!

LOS ANGELES, CA – Friday, February 10, 2012

In the spirit of Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), four important community organizations have joined efforts to mark National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Twinbiz, I Choose Life, the African American Cultural Center and the Senut Sisterhood.The program is a free event that will take place at the African American Cultural Center, 3018 West 48thStreet, Los Angeles, CA 90043, Friday February 10, 2012 at 7:00PM. This Ujima Event is not just for those who may be afflicted with the virus. It is for anyone who wants to live a pro-active, health-conscious life. The program offers to the community HIV awareness and prevention through the power of “edutainment”.

The NBH/A Awareness Day program will begin at 6:30PM with a Community Reception hosted by the Senut Sisterhood whose Chair, Chimbuko Tembo, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. The Senut Sisterhood is dedicated to social service and social action focusing on providing programs to support young girls and women of the African American community.

At 7:00PM the program will begin with a Reading of Excerpts from Yvette Heyliger’s “What Would Jesus Do?” winner of multiple AUDELCO Recognition Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre. A tragic, yet humorous play about family, church, sex and HIV. The cast includes Debi Anderson, Adilah Barnes, Lynne Conner, Yvonne Farrow, Danielle Green, Andre Henry, Stevie Mack, Iona Morris, Michael A. Shepperd, John Wesley and Emily Yancy, live music by Larry Farrow.

This year’s play reading is in honor the Second Annual National Black HIV/AIDS Theater Initiative: Produce A Play/Save A Life! Its purpose is to inspire and enlist playwrights, producers, actors, presenting organizations and churches to write, read or produce at least one play a season in Black theatres, churches, youth and senior centers, high schools, colleges, prisons and living rooms across America until this preventable disease, where Blacks continue to account for more than half the nation’s new infection rates, is eradicated.  In 2011 the NBH/A Theatre Initiative kicked off with a Resolution from the City of Los Angeles.  Of this theater ministry Yvonne Farrow of Twinbiz states, “If we don’t deal with this epidemic today, there may not be anyone around to celebrate Black History Month tomorrow.”

Furthering the idea that theatre can be used to illumine critical issues in the community through edutainment, Tony Wafford, President/CEO, I Choose Life Health and Wellness Center, will present a Response & Update with special guest speaker Jo Valentine, MSW, Associate Director for Health Equity, Division of STD Prevention, NCHHSTP, who will respond to the material presented, as well as give updates on the current status of HIV/AIDS, prevention and treatment. Support materials with further information and testing will be provided.

Rounding out the program, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Executive Director, African American Cultural Center (Us), and Creator of Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba (from which the third principle, Ujima comes), will give a framework in which to best understand, appreciate and utilize all of the material that has been presented through open dialogue entitled, Conversation in Community, and bring to realization the year round practice of Ujima, Collective Work and Responsibility, “to build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.”  Also serving on the Q&A panel are Valentine, Wafford, Tembo and Farrow. For more information, or to get directions to the African American Cultural Center call 323.299.6124.


Congratulations to Season One guest Yvette Heyliger, who will have a reading of her new play in NYC.


Monday, December 19th, 7-10pm

Frank Silvera Writer’s Workshop

Location: Dwyer Cultural Center
258 St. Nicholas Avenue, New York, NY
(entrance on W. 123rd St. btw St. Nicholas & Frederick Douglass Blvd)\

Acceptance Speeches by Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow
Here is a message from Yvette and Yvonne, partners at Twinbiz, and the subjects of TheatreNow! Season One, Episode Seven, describing their experience receiving a national award for their producing work. These groundbreaking and multitalented artists have been recognized for their innovation.

From Yvette and Yvonne:On August 1, 2011, with 25+ productions under our belt, Yvette and I received the first ever National Black Theatre Festival ‘Emerging Producer’ Awardin its 22 year history. It was amazing being in the company of, and honored alongside, the best of the best African American producers, performers, designers, playwrights, directors, philanthropists, humanitarians, living legends and stars of stage and screen.

For our colleagues, friends, family and patrons unable to attend, we’d like to share our acceptance speeches and express our love and gratitude to YOU for all your support over the years.

Yvonne & Yvette

Yvonne’s Acceptance Speech
Y and Y at NBTFThank you, Mrs. Hamlin, co-directors, the board, staff, volunteers and supporters of the National Black Theatre Festval.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then producing is her second born.
Producing for Twinbiz first began out of necessity – Yvette and I getting our works done by any means necessary – and grew into a craft we love and are empowered by.
To artists everywhere, I say: Don’t sit around praying to God, hoping someone will produce your work. Spirit can only do for you what it can do thorough you. With God as your ‘silent’ partner, know that you are equipped and well able.
I’d especially like to thank my partner and twin sister, Yvette Heyliger, without whom Twinbiz would not exist; my husband, Larry Farrow (aka Piano Man Productions), who has supported many of our projects both financially and through his music; my mentor, Steve Duncan, a television writer/producer and creator of the hit show, Tour of Duty, who taught me the craft of screen writing, pitching and the art of the deal; publicist and producer, the late Gay Iris Parker who believed in our first major production, Homegirl, which became our first prouction here at the NBTF.
And finally to Larry Leon Hamlin, who over the years, would pick up the phone to call me in LA just to say hi, chat about the industry, or check in with how Twinbiz was doing. Life is spirit. Spirit is eternal. Thank you, Mr. Hamlin.


Yvette’s Acceptance Speech
Women playwrights  receive less than 20% of production opportunities in the American Theatre nationwide.  Women  playwrights of color receive even less than half of that, somewhere around 7% and as low as  1%.So what  to do?  The answer to that question  is what makes the Emerging Producer Award so important.In 2001  Yvonne and I were the new kids on the block.  Larry Leon gave a woman playwright,  yours truly, and two women producers a shot on his national stage alongside  well-established theatre companies, not once but four times!Thank  you to Larry Leon for making this day possible; to Lawrence Evans who introduced  Twinbiz to the festival; to Sylvia, Mable and Gerry for ensuring this great  legacy continues for future generations of producers and theatre artists.  Thank you to Voza Rivers and Woodie  King, Jr. who have provided Twinbiz with advice on producing over the years; to  my sister and partner Yvonne, her husband Larry, and my  husband Donald.And  finally, thank you to fellow honoree, Samm-Art Williams who encouraged me to  write my first play and started me on this  journey.

About the NBTF’s Emerging Producer Award
The National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF), founded by the late Larry Leon Hamlin, has been held biennially since 1989. The event attracts thousands of national and international patrons, theatre professionals and scholars to Winston-Salem. Approximately 35 companies are selected to perform during the week for a total of over 100 performances.
The NBTF Emerging Producer Award was created to celebrate the achievements of rising theatrical producers, to encourage their continued growth in the industry, and to bring about the awareness of the need to both reach back to acknowledge those independent producers who have been in the trenches presenting work “by any means necessary,” as well as to inspire and raise-up new producers of color. This award ensures the health, longevity and future of Black Theatre, work for its theatre artists, and the continued inclusion of black plays in the canon of American Theatre. For more information visit www.nbtf.org.


Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow Win Emerging Producers Award

Winners of the National Black Theatre Festival's Emerging Producer Award

Congratulations, TheatreNow! guests Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow.

As Twinbiz™ partners (twins in the business), they have been selected to receive the inaugural National Black Theatre Festival Emerging Producer Award. The festival, which showcases outstanding Black Theatre from around the country, will be held August 1 – 6, 2011 in Winston-Salem, NC. The twins will be presented with this honor at the Opening Night Gala Awards Banquet on August 1st.

The National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF), founded by the late Larry Leon Hamlin, has been held biennially since 1989. The event attracts thousands of national and international patrons, theatre professionals and scholars to Winston-Salem. Approximately 35 companies are selected to perform during the week for a total of over 100 performances. For more information and to buy tickets visit http://www.nbtf.org.

The NBTF Emerging Producer Award was created to celebrate the achievements of rising theatrical producers, to encourage their continued growth in the industry, and to bring about the awareness of the need to both reach back to acknowledge those independent producers who have been in the trenches presenting work “by any means necessary,” as well as to inspire and raise-up new producers of color. This award ensures the health, longevity and future of Black Theatre, work for its theatre artists, and the continued inclusion of black plays in the canon of American Theatre.

The twins have been “producing coast to coast” for over twenty years. The TheatreNow! interview revealed the creative process of WWDJ?, written and directed by Yvette, and starring Yvonne.

For a full press release, contact Yvette at twinbiznyc@aol.com