Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm

Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm

Tearrance won a 2018 Helen Hayes award (the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical) for his play Hooded: Or Being Black for Dummies, which premiered and was revived at Mosaic Theater. This season, Tearrance will present the world premiere of P.Y.G. at Studio Theater as both playwright and director; the play has previously been developed at the Magic Theater’s Virgin Play Festival...
Tearrance won a 2018 Helen Hayes award (the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical) for his play Hooded: Or Being Black for Dummies, which premiered and was revived at Mosaic Theater. This season, Tearrance will present the world premiere of P.Y.G. at Studio Theater as both playwright and director; the play has previously been developed at the Magic Theater’s Virgin Play Festival and at Juilliard. Last year, Tearrance’s play Br’er Cotton had a critically-acclaimed production by London’s Theatre 503 (nominee, Evening Standard Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright), as well as an NNPN Rolling World Premiere, with productions at Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas, Lower Depth Ensemble in Los Angeles and Cleveland Public.

Tearrance received the 13th Smith Prize for Political Theater, a commission through NNPN that encourages emerging playwrights to tackle the pressing issues of our times. The award money will support Tearrance’s development of Vanye, an adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. Vanye will on issues of gentrification, exploring our complicated relationships with corporations, community, and social capital in "developing" spaces.

Tearrance has developed new works with Signature Theatre, Theatre J, Theatre Alliance, and The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. He has held residencies at The Bay Area Playwrights Festival, The Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Djerassi Resident Artists Program and The Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. He was a finalist for the Inaugural Relentless Award and the Theatre 503 Playwriting Award. Tearrance received two of the 2016 National KCACTF awards, the Rosa Parks Playwriting Award and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award. Tearrance was a part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Rep with his play Anacostia Street Lions. He developed the play Black Lady Authority under the auspices of the Sundance Theater Lab.

Tearrance holds an MFA in Playwriting from the Catholic University of America. He is a recent graduate from the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Julliard, and is a Sundance Institute and Time Warner Foundation Fellow, and a 2050 Fellow at New York Theater Workshop.

Plays

  • P.Y.G. or the Misedumacation of Dorian Belle
    FULL LENGTH - Dorian Bell is a big deal. He’s a Canadian pop sweetheart, and he’s ready to be taken seriously. So his people hire his favorite hip-hop artists—Black and Alexand, the ‘bad boy’ rappers of Petty Young Goons—to help him toughen up his image. They’re black, he’s white. They’re from Chicago, he’s from Canada. It’s all on reality TV. What could go wrong?

    Inspired by Shaw’s Pygmalion,...
    FULL LENGTH - Dorian Bell is a big deal. He’s a Canadian pop sweetheart, and he’s ready to be taken seriously. So his people hire his favorite hip-hop artists—Black and Alexand, the ‘bad boy’ rappers of Petty Young Goons—to help him toughen up his image. They’re black, he’s white. They’re from Chicago, he’s from Canada. It’s all on reality TV. What could go wrong?

    Inspired by Shaw’s Pygmalion, P.Y.G. is a blistering and entertaining look at cultural and racial appropriation in a fictionalized exchange of ideologies, vernacular, and alleged street cred.
  • Black Dick
    A theatrical re-interpretation of the 1970s Blaxploitation genre (i.e. Shaft), BLACK DICK follows Detective James Flood, a jaded black detective in the Houston Special Victims Unit. But his spark is reignited by an annoying, educated partner and their assignment on a case to find an abducted 14-year-old white girl. It's a battle of book smarts and street smarts with some squabbles over pricey coffee thrown in.
  • Br'er Cotton
    FULL LENGTH - Lynchburg, Virginia. The former site of a thriving cotton mill is now an impoverished neighborhood. Deeply affected by all the recent killings of young black men like himself, Ruffrino, a 14 year old militant, incites riots at school and online. More and more at odds with his mother and grandfather, the boys anger grows beyond containment while the family home literally sinks into the cotton...
    FULL LENGTH - Lynchburg, Virginia. The former site of a thriving cotton mill is now an impoverished neighborhood. Deeply affected by all the recent killings of young black men like himself, Ruffrino, a 14 year old militant, incites riots at school and online. More and more at odds with his mother and grandfather, the boys anger grows beyond containment while the family home literally sinks into the cotton field, and no one seems to notice but him.
  • Hooded or Being Black for Dummies
    FULL LENGTH - Marquis and Tru are both fourteen year old black boys, but they exist in two totally different worlds. Marquis is a book smart prep-schooler living in the affluent suburb of Achievement Heights; while Tru is a street savvy kid from deep within the inner city of Baltimore. Their worlds overlap one day in a holding cell. Tru decides that Marquis has lost his “blackness” and pens a how-to manual...
    FULL LENGTH - Marquis and Tru are both fourteen year old black boys, but they exist in two totally different worlds. Marquis is a book smart prep-schooler living in the affluent suburb of Achievement Heights; while Tru is a street savvy kid from deep within the inner city of Baltimore. Their worlds overlap one day in a holding cell. Tru decides that Marquis has lost his “blackness” and pens a how-to manual entitled “Being Black for Dummies”. He assumes the role of professor, but Marquis proves to be a reluctant pupil. They butt heads, debate, wrestle and ultimately prove that Nietzsche and 2pac were basically saying the same thing.

  • Black Lady Authority
    FULL LENGTH - The year is 2020, and the Race Wars have left America all but decimated. Three women take refuge in a theatre; they take control of their destiny and devise a revolution that puts the black woman in charge.
  • Anacostia Street Lions
    FULL LENGTH - Washington, D.C., 2049 AD: the feral cat population in Anacostia has been neutralized, and now the M.A.N. turns its attention to the “undesirables” in the human population. But twins Fable and Korinna and their Grandthang don’t intend to go down without a fight.
  • A Month of Sundays
    ONE ACT - Nickel returns to Benjamin, Missouri plagued by a recurring nightmare.He seeks out his former lover, Cindy-- a "witchy woman", with a flair for interpreting dreams and reading the future. But in his absence Cindy has found an disturbing way to cope. She's plagued with a recurring dream of her own, and she intends to keep her secret by any mean necessary.
  • A'nat Dittni
    10 Minute - Jeanette attends Ellis, her father, at his deathbed. He has an important family legend he must pass on to her before he dies, or the tale and its language will be lost forever. But Jeannette also has a confession to make.