Black Writers Program / “Yes, And…”: Craft and Revision for Multidisciplinary Artists

Between the two of them, Donnetta Lavinia Grays and nicHi douglas have careers that span playwriting, screenwriting, acting, dancing, and directing for stage, television, and film. That’s a lot of ground covered—but creative breadth is increasingly common among artists today. Join Grays and douglas on Saturday, December 19 as they speak on a panel moderated by NYWC Interim Program Director Calley Anderson about multidisciplinary art. They’ll share their experiences, processes, and explain how they refine their writing craft and express themselves fully while wearing multiple hats.


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Donnetta Lavinia Grays – raised in Columbia, South Carolina – is a Brooklyn based playwright and actor whose writing credits include WHERE WE STAND (Lucille Lortel Nominee, Drama League Nominee, 3X AUDELCO Nominee, World Premiere Co-production – WP Theater and Baltimore Centerstage. O’Neill Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist.), WARRIORS DON’T CRY (Theaterworks USA/Bushnell commission), LAST NIGHT AND THE NIGHT BEFORE (World Premiere – Denver Center for the Performing Arts.  Kilroys List. Colorado New Play Summit. National New Play Network Showcase. Todd McNerney National Playwriting Award Winner.  O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist.), LAID TO REST (O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist.) THE REVIEW OR HOW TO EAT YOUR OPPOSITION (WP Pipeline Festival. O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist.) THE NEW NORMAL and THE COWBOY IS DYING. Donnetta a recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwright Award, Lilly Award, the National Theater Conference Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwright Award, and is the inaugural recipient of the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. She is a former Space on Ryder Farm Working Farm Resident, is Time Warner Foundation WP Playwrights Lab alumna, a Civilians R&D Group alumna, an Actors Studio Playwright/Directors Unit alumna, and a terraNova Collective Groundbreakers Playwright group alumna. Currently, she is developing work at Hedgebrook (*Covid Class). Her work has been previously developed with New Harmony Project, Ground Floor Berkeley Rep, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Labyrinth Theater Company, New York Theater Workshop, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Portland Stage Company, Pure Theatre Company, [the claque], Naked Angels, Classical Theater of Harlem, Slant Theater Project, terraNova Collective, Theatre 4 the People, TOSOS, The Group Lab and Coyote REP. Donnetta is currently under commission from Steppenwolf, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and WP Theater. For television she has been staffed on Spectrum Original/Lionsgate’s “Manhunt”, “Y: The Last Man” for FX Network/Color Force and is currently an Executive Story Editor on “Joe Exotic” starring Kate McKinnon for NBC Universal.

Donnetta’s acting credits include Broadway’s IN THE NEXT ROOM OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY and WELL. She has originated numerous roles including the Off-Broadway debut of her solo show WHERE WE STAND, O, EARTH (The Foundry Theatre), MEN ON BOATS (Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb) OF GOVERNMENT, TIN CAT SHOES and 16 WORDS OR LESS (Clubbed Thumb), BE THE DEATH OF ME and IN THE FOOTPRINT (The Civilians- as an Associate Artist), and SHIPWRECKED! AN ENTERTAINMENT (Primary Stages). Regionally, she has enjoyed runs at American Conservatory Theater, Barrington Stage, Westport Country Playhouse, Arena Stage, Hartford Theaterworks, Portland Stage Company, Baltimore Centerstage, Huntington Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and LA Women’s Shakespeare Co. She is a 2-time Connecticut Critic’s Circle Award Winner and a Helen Hayes Award Nominee. Her film and TV credits include THE BOOK OF HENRY (with Naomi Watts), WILD CANARIES, THE ENGLISH TEACHER (with Julianne Moore), THE WRESTLER (opposite Mickey Rourke and Evan Rachel Wood). She’s enjoyed recurring roles on NEW AMSTERDAM, HAPPY, RUBICON, MERCY and Law and Order: SVU. And guest starring roles on HIGH MAINTENANCE, THE NIGHT OF, BLUE BLOODS,THE BLACKLIST, A GIFTED MAN, LAW AND ORDER, L&O:CI and THE SOPRANOS. She is a Civilians Associate Artist and a frequent cast member of many Outside the Wire/Theater of War projects. Donnetta is a Part-Time Lecturer at The New School of Drama. BA: College of Charleston. MFA: University of California, Irvine.

nicHi douglas is a Brooklyn-based performer, choreographer, director, writer and ART-IVIST. she is the Head of Movement in the NYU/Tisch Playwrights Horizons Theater School studio. her sacred offering for Black womxn, (pray), co-composed by Starr Busby & JJJJJerome Ellis, will be produced by Ars Nova when theaters reopen. nicHi’s reparations-based mutual aid fund, nicHi’s SuSu, launched in October 2020. recent stage credits: A Time Like This: Music for Change (Carnegie Hall, Stage Director), Girl From the North Country (Public Theater, Associate Choreographer), where love lies fallow (The Shed, The Public Theater, Playwright/Choreographer/Director), SKiNFoLK: An American Show (The Bushwick Starr/National Black Theater, Choreographer). upcoming: Untitled Mockumentary Project (Ars Nova, Executive Producer/Director), The Harriet Holland Social Club Presents … (The Movement Theatre Company/New Georges, Movement Director). BFA, Tisch/NYU; MFA, The New School. You can find more at