Tira Palmquist

Tira Palmquist

TIRA PALMQUIST is known for plays that merge the personal, the political and the poetic. Her most produced play, Two Degrees, premiered at the Denver Center, and was subsequently produced by Tesseract Theater in St. Louis and Prime Productions at the Guthrie (among others). Her newest play The Way North was a Finalist for the O’Neill, an Honorable Mention for the 2019 Kilroys List, and will be featured in the...
TIRA PALMQUIST is known for plays that merge the personal, the political and the poetic. Her most produced play, Two Degrees, premiered at the Denver Center, and was subsequently produced by Tesseract Theater in St. Louis and Prime Productions at the Guthrie (among others). Her newest play The Way North was a Finalist for the O’Neill, an Honorable Mention for the 2019 Kilroys List, and will be featured in the 2019 Ashland New Plays Festival.
This year, Tira has been working on several new commission projects: The Worth of Water, the 2018 Clutch Productions commission, will go up in NYC in October, directed by Mélisa Annis. Tira’s commission for Lower Depth Theater Ensemble in Los Angeles. Safe Harbor, a play about sex trafficking, will premiere in November in LA. Tira has also been commissioned to write new work for the UCI graduate acting students. Her play Hold Steady was workshopped at UCI in February 2019, and she is currently working All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, to be workshopped in February 2020.
Her other plays include Ten Mile Lake (Serenbe Playhouse), Age of Bees (NYU Stella Adler Studio, MadLab Theater, Tesseract), And Then They Fell (MadLab, Brimmer Street, New York Film Academy) and This Floating World.
The Way North, which was developed at the 2018 Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, was a finalist for the 2018 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, the 2018 Bay Area Playwrights Festival and the 2019 Blue Ink Playwriting Award. The Way North was also featured in the following festivals: The Festival of New American Plays (Phoenix Theater), the Human Rights New Works Festival (Red Mountain Theater), the Page-by-Page Festival (Pioneer Theater) and the Road Theater’s Summer New Works Festival.
Two Degrees has been featured in numerous festivals (including the 11th Annual Denver Center New Play Summit, the New American Voices festival in the UK, the Caltech 2014 Mach 33 Festival and the 2014 Great Plains Theater Conference) and had its World Premiere in the Denver Center’s 2016/17 Season. Two Degrees was also listed in the Honorable Mention list for the 2016 Kilroys. Ten Mile Lake, which premiered in 2014 at Serenbe Playhouse just outside of Atlanta, GA, was developed and workshopped in 2012 at the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, and was a finalist for the 2015 Primus Prize.
Tira teaches creative writing at the Orange County School of the Arts, and has also taught at Wesleyan University and the University of California-Irvine. She is a member of the Playwrights Union, the Anteaus Theater’s Playwrights Lab and is a member of the Dramatists Guild. Her work as a director and dramaturg includes several seasons at the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference and the New Territories Playwriting Residency, a program she developed with Brian Clowdus at Serenbe Playhouse in Georgia. More info at www.tirapalmquist.com.

Plays

  • Hold Steady
    It's the weekend of a high school ten-year reunion, and a group of friends gathers. But it's hard to feel like there's much to celebrate when they're saddled with debt, concerned about their current choices, worried about their future. Seeing their friends reminds them who they thought they'd be, and how far they have to go to get there.
  • The Worth of Water
    Elle is a struggling singer-songwriter in California. Rebecca is an unhappy homemaker in Wisconsin. And Ethel is bringing her daughters together for her 70th birthday to be momentary mermaids in the springs of Weeki Wachee. But as the fantasy dissipates, will they be able to swim back to shore?
  • The Way North
    When a lost, cold and very pregnant young woman stumbles on to her rural homestead in the Minnesota wilderness, Freddy Hanson doesn't hesitate to take her in. It's the right thing to do, and as the county's former Sheriff, Freddy has dedicated her life to protecting and serving others. But when her new guest turns out to be a Sudanese refugee making a run for the Canadian border, what it means to...
    When a lost, cold and very pregnant young woman stumbles on to her rural homestead in the Minnesota wilderness, Freddy Hanson doesn't hesitate to take her in. It's the right thing to do, and as the county's former Sheriff, Freddy has dedicated her life to protecting and serving others. But when her new guest turns out to be a Sudanese refugee making a run for the Canadian border, what it means to protect and serve becomes a more complicated, and far more dangerous, question.

  • Two Degrees
    Emma Phelps is a paleoclimatologist, focusing on ice in Greenland. In drilling and studying ice core samples, she sees first hand the symptoms of our changing planet, which makes the need to act all the more crucial and urgent. In addition to her growing sense of urgency for the planet, Emma, as a recent widow, experiences grief that compounds itself with each passing month. Now she's been asked to come to...
    Emma Phelps is a paleoclimatologist, focusing on ice in Greenland. In drilling and studying ice core samples, she sees first hand the symptoms of our changing planet, which makes the need to act all the more crucial and urgent. In addition to her growing sense of urgency for the planet, Emma, as a recent widow, experiences grief that compounds itself with each passing month. Now she's been asked to come to Washington D.C. to testify in a Senate Committee regarding climate change legislation, and in this intersection of science and politics, of politics and the personal, she finds more than just a little is breaking up under the strain of change.
  • This Floating World
    When a woman of means crashes her car in a no-man’s land, she finds herself on a long, strange trip home. Wasn’t she always lucky? Didn’t she always know how to make her way in the world? But this place is bewildering, and, weirdly, there’s a creature who seems to understand her better than the humans. There, on the margins of here and there, between suburbia and wilderness, she meets a Curandera and...
    When a woman of means crashes her car in a no-man’s land, she finds herself on a long, strange trip home. Wasn’t she always lucky? Didn’t she always know how to make her way in the world? But this place is bewildering, and, weirdly, there’s a creature who seems to understand her better than the humans. There, on the margins of here and there, between suburbia and wilderness, she meets a Curandera and desperately clings to the things that seem to be slipping away from her. Or, maybe, it’s all already gone, and she just couldn’t see it.
  • Overburden
    After Grandpa Gunnar's funeral, Carl is convinced that there's an inheritance hidden in the boxes and detritus in Gunnar's house. To Gunnar's daughter, Nan, there's nothing of value in the house -- nothing of value in Gunnar's legacy, nothing to inherit but grief and sorrow. As they sort through the house, Carl learns how true that is.
  • And Then They Fell
    Jordan Matthews would be fine, if her mother could hold down a decent job, or if her mother hadn't been arrested on another DUI, or if her mother's boyfriend wasn't a skeevy bastard. But things aren't fine, Jordan's life teeters on the edge, and all the adults around her are either impotent or uninterested. So Jordan begins to wonder if it’s unusual for terrible things to happen, and...
    Jordan Matthews would be fine, if her mother could hold down a decent job, or if her mother hadn't been arrested on another DUI, or if her mother's boyfriend wasn't a skeevy bastard. But things aren't fine, Jordan's life teeters on the edge, and all the adults around her are either impotent or uninterested. So Jordan begins to wonder if it’s unusual for terrible things to happen, and never know why. For terrible things to happen, and not have anyone really care.
  • Ten Mile Lake
    Maggie should have known it was a fool’s errand to return to Ten Mile Lake; after all, if her father had wanted her to know he was dying, he would have called her himself. It would be easy to just turn around and head back to Portland, especially since he seems to get along better with his new nurse Donny than he ever did with her. But, now that she's home, Maggie can’t seem to leave, and maybe… just maybe...
    Maggie should have known it was a fool’s errand to return to Ten Mile Lake; after all, if her father had wanted her to know he was dying, he would have called her himself. It would be easy to just turn around and head back to Portland, especially since he seems to get along better with his new nurse Donny than he ever did with her. But, now that she's home, Maggie can’t seem to leave, and maybe… just maybe she doesn’t really want to.
  • Age of Bees
    The bees have gone, and the world struggles to keep up with the resulting ecological and economic changes. In the midst of this, we meet Mel, a young woman who has found sanctuary on an agricultural compound, where there's food and safety. She works alongside other girls, also orphans or castoffs. Sarah and Zed, who run the farm, hope that their next child will be a boy; Sarah is at the end of her...
    The bees have gone, and the world struggles to keep up with the resulting ecological and economic changes. In the midst of this, we meet Mel, a young woman who has found sanctuary on an agricultural compound, where there's food and safety. She works alongside other girls, also orphans or castoffs. Sarah and Zed, who run the farm, hope that their next child will be a boy; Sarah is at the end of her fertility, however, and, to her dismay, Mel stands next in line to carry children for Zed. Into this uncertain sanctuary steps Jonathan, an independent field researcher who collects samples of plants to forestall additional ecological devastation. Meeting Mel provides a glimmer of other kinds of scientific riches on this compound, and he is determined to take her with him. Zed's history of violence makes any escape a dangerous proposition. Still, there's the hope that something new can grow, that something good can come from the ruined world they struggle to make theirs.
  • The Frequency of Stars and Other Matter
    Benny Gutierrez is trying to grow up. While in custody for statutory rape, Benny was seriously wounded by the Sheriff's deputies. Now - free on a plea agreement, with a monetary settlement, Benny moves to Hemet, where at least he can look at the stars.

    Still, he's tons of baggage, such as his resentment toward his brother, who didn't bail him out of jail. Benny is looking for his...
    Benny Gutierrez is trying to grow up. While in custody for statutory rape, Benny was seriously wounded by the Sheriff's deputies. Now - free on a plea agreement, with a monetary settlement, Benny moves to Hemet, where at least he can look at the stars.

    Still, he's tons of baggage, such as his resentment toward his brother, who didn't bail him out of jail. Benny is looking for his place in the world - and in his need to know his fate, he unintentionally revives the ghost of Tycho Brahe, who seems just as perplexed by the universe as Benny.