Idris Goodwin

Idris Goodwin

Idris Goodwin is an award-winning storyteller for multiple generations. An accomplished playwright, breakbeat poet, content creator and arts champion, Goodwin is recognized as a culture bearer who celebrates community values and cultivates histories with care. Idris is the author of over 60 original plays ranging from his Hip Hop inspired breakbeat series to historical dramas to works for young audiences....
Idris Goodwin is an award-winning storyteller for multiple generations. An accomplished playwright, breakbeat poet, content creator and arts champion, Goodwin is recognized as a culture bearer who celebrates community values and cultivates histories with care. Idris is the author of over 60 original plays ranging from his Hip Hop inspired breakbeat series to historical dramas to works for young audiences. Titles such as And In This Corner Cassius Clay, How We Got On, Hype Man: A Break Beat Play, This is Modern Art and the ground breaking Free Play: open source scripts for an antiracist tomorrow, are widely produced across the country by a diverse mix of professional and academic venues. Driven by a passion for cultural impact and civic engagement, Idris currently serves as Artistic Director of Seattle Children’s Theater. Prior to this he was Executive Director of The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, where he also taught as a professor in The Department of Theater and Dance. Previous to this Idris led StageOne Family Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky as Producing Artistic Director. Idris is Board President of Theater For Young Audiences/USA and also serves on the board at Children’s Theater Foundation Association. In addition to Idris’s work in theater he’s created original content for and/or appeared on Nickelodeon, HBO Def Poetry, Sesame Street, NPR, BBC Radio, and the Discovery Channel. “Your House is Not Just A House,” his first picture book, will be published by Harper Collins in 2024. Find him at www.idrisgoodwin.com and on across all the socials

Plays

  • How We Got On: a breakbeat play
    Hank, Julian, and Luann are three talented, determined suburban teens coming of age in the 1980s. Dreaming of fame and fortune in the new Hip-Hop music scene, they must overcome cultural isolation, familial dysfunction, and ruthless rivalries to make the music that defines their lives. A sultry DJ spins their stories with her own meta-theatrical perspective in this contemporary ode to the roots of rap.
    ...
    Hank, Julian, and Luann are three talented, determined suburban teens coming of age in the 1980s. Dreaming of fame and fortune in the new Hip-Hop music scene, they must overcome cultural isolation, familial dysfunction, and ruthless rivalries to make the music that defines their lives. A sultry DJ spins their stories with her own meta-theatrical perspective in this contemporary ode to the roots of rap.
    http://www.playscripts.com/play/2542
  • The REALNESS: a breakbeat play
    It’s 1996, the hip-hop scene is roaring, and T.O. has arrived in the city, eager to immerse himself in a culture he’s only observed from the safety of the suburbs. He falls hard for Prima, an MC who entrances him with her music and her authenticity. When he lies and schemes to stay in her life, is it in the name of true love or just another part of his obsession with the hip-hop lifestyle?
  • HYPE MAN: a break beat play
    A controversial police shooting causes tensions between an interracial hip hop trio.
    HYPE MAN is a rhythmically woven drama exploring race, representation, fame and friendship.
  • THIS IS MODERN ART
    Co written with Kevin Coval.
    The crew of LOOK OVER HERE (LOH) is willing to risk anything for their art. Called vandals, criminals, even creative terrorists, these Chicago graffiti artists set out night after night to make their voices heard and alter the way people view the world. But when the crew finishes the biggest graffiti bomb of their careers, the consequences get serious and spark a public...
    Co written with Kevin Coval.
    The crew of LOOK OVER HERE (LOH) is willing to risk anything for their art. Called vandals, criminals, even creative terrorists, these Chicago graffiti artists set out night after night to make their voices heard and alter the way people view the world. But when the crew finishes the biggest graffiti bomb of their careers, the consequences get serious and spark a public debate asking, where does art belong? This Is Modern Art gives a glimpse into the anonymous lives of graffiti artists and asks us to question the true purpose of art.
  • Bars and Measures
    Commissioned by B Street Theatre, Bars and Measures is the fascinating tale of two brothers. One a classical pianist. The other a jazz bass player. One a Christian. The other a Muslim. One living in freedom. The other in jail. Separated by bars, the brothers try to reconcile their differences through the language they know best. Music. A beautiful journey through faith, family, melody and time.
  • Blackademics
    Two ravenous female African-American scholars arrive for their coveted dinner reservation at a select café. But what starts as a celebration, quickly takes a raucous turn. Banter turns to debate, and debate into battle as the women figuratively and literally vie for a seat at the table.
  • THE RAID
    John Brown is convinced only bloodshed will dismantle American Slavery. After fighting alongside his sons in Kansas, Brown plots to make real his vision: To free and arm black slaves across the south. With Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman conflicted, Brown heads to Harpers Ferry. A tragedy of dissenting heroes, The Raid investigates the line between civic disobedience and civic duty, ultimately asking...
    John Brown is convinced only bloodshed will dismantle American Slavery. After fighting alongside his sons in Kansas, Brown plots to make real his vision: To free and arm black slaves across the south. With Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman conflicted, Brown heads to Harpers Ferry. A tragedy of dissenting heroes, The Raid investigates the line between civic disobedience and civic duty, ultimately asking whether or not there’s such a thing as justifiable violence.
  • What‘s Best For The Children
    Whit Forsyth has just been elected the first Black chairman of the State Schoolboard Committee, about to vote on critical measures on public education. But as he readies for his vote, several groups go to extreme measures to influence his decisions. A comic exploration of ideology and the American education system.
  • American Prom
    Set in a small town middle American town called Principal, this is the story of teenaged best friends Jimmy T. and Kia B. Jimmy wants to take Kia to prom, but it’s complicated. Jimmy is white and Kia is black, and Principal has been holding racially segregated proms for decades. In this contemporary coming of age story, filled with music and magic, rhymes and beats, Jimmy and Kia work to hold fast to their...
    Set in a small town middle American town called Principal, this is the story of teenaged best friends Jimmy T. and Kia B. Jimmy wants to take Kia to prom, but it’s complicated. Jimmy is white and Kia is black, and Principal has been holding racially segregated proms for decades. In this contemporary coming of age story, filled with music and magic, rhymes and beats, Jimmy and Kia work to hold fast to their friendship. With a little help from a musical superstar, they both fight to envision a different future for themselves and their town.
  • AND IN THIS CORNER: CASSIUS CLAY
    A drama about a teenage Muhammad Ali coming up in a racially segregated Louisville KY. Before Islam, draft dodging, before Liston and Fraizer and Zaire, he had to learn the stance, and confront his fears.
  • THE WAY THE MOUNTAIN MOVED
    In a remote desert in the 1850s, four men—a U.S. Army lieutenant, a sharpshooter, a botanist and an artist—set out to survey a route for the new continent-spanning railroad. After being scattered on separate odysseys, they cross paths with lost pioneers, cautious Native Americans and an African-American Mormon couple unsure whether to befriend, fight or flee the newcomers. Whose dreams will prevail?
  • WE WANT THE FUNK: a rustbelt lullabye on the one!
    It’s the early 1970s and the fourth largest auto company in the Midwest just laid off more than half its workers. Chuck is one of them, but he’s not worried. Chuck is convinced that “the funk” will bring prosperity. Only thing, Chuck can’t play no instrument. But somewhere in this sea of the recently unemployed and rejected—those morphine addicted Vietnam vets—those ex militants turned public servants—gear...
    It’s the early 1970s and the fourth largest auto company in the Midwest just laid off more than half its workers. Chuck is one of them, but he’s not worried. Chuck is convinced that “the funk” will bring prosperity. Only thing, Chuck can’t play no instrument. But somewhere in this sea of the recently unemployed and rejected—those morphine addicted Vietnam vets—those ex militants turned public servants—gear heads, burnouts, labor activists, Motown woulda coulda beens, and hustlers—somewhere in all that is Chuck’s band. This psychedelic rhythmic verse drama follows one ordinary man’s pursuit of a new working class frontier.
  • The Blueprint
    THE BLUEPRINT follows two successful and competitive African American writers as they navigate personal and professional crisis. Framed by the tracks of a contemporary playlist, this rhythmic ensemble piece, examines the heartaches, sacrifices, successes, and the sheer will it takes to pursue the dream.
  • Black Flag
    Part of the Free Play: open source scripts for an antiracist tomorrow series
    Sydney is from Georgia. Deja is from Detroit. These two new dorm-mates cannot wait to start their freshman year together. That is, until Sydney decides to decorate their room with a little piece of "Southern pride." Now, all bets are off. BLACK FLAG is a biting new play about allegiance, censorship and the price of...
    Part of the Free Play: open source scripts for an antiracist tomorrow series
    Sydney is from Georgia. Deja is from Detroit. These two new dorm-mates cannot wait to start their freshman year together. That is, until Sydney decides to decorate their room with a little piece of "Southern pride." Now, all bets are off. BLACK FLAG is a biting new play about allegiance, censorship and the price of honoring the past.

  • #matter
    Part of the Free Play: open source scripts for an antiracist tomorrow series
    a racially motivated misunderstanding on social media prompts a reunion between two old friends
  • The Water Gun Song
    Part of Free Play: open source scripts toward an antiracist tomorrow
    The Water Gun Song finds a parent trying to find the words to explain to a child why a water gun isn’t simply a toy
  • ACT FREE
    Part of Free Play: open source scripts toward an antiracist tomorrow
    Act Free finds three kids wrestling with the definition of freedom
  • Nothing rhymes with juneteenth
    Part of the Free Play: open source scripts for an antiracist tomorrow series
    A child and a parent trying to complete a rap for a school presentation