Kathya Alexander is a writer, playwright, storyteller, and teaching artist. She was a Writer-in-Residence at the prestigious Hedgebrook Women Writer’s Retreat and won the Fringe First Award for Black to My Roots: African American Tales from the Head and the Heart at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for Outstanding New Production and Innovation in Theater in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was performed most recently at Seattle Center. She has also won awards from 4Culture, Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture, Artist Trust, Jack Straw, Seattle Theater Group, Freehold Theater, and Seattle Parks and Recreation. She was a freelance writer for Colors NW Magazine and a regular contributor to the South Seattle Emerald. She has been published in The Pitkin Review, Arkana Literary Magazine, Pontoon Poetry, and Native Skin Magazine. She has also been published in anthologies by the African American Writers Alliance (AAWA) and in Raising Lily Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workplace by Lost Horse Press. Her playwriting credits include The Negro Passion Play; Black D*ck Matters; With Hope And With Morning; David & Jonathan: A Modern Day Retelling of the Biblical Story; Homegoing; A Revolution of Hope; emotionalblackmale; and HumaNature. Youth plays includes Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!; Think Before You Do; Dream’n; Native Sons and Daughters; and Nappy Roots: A Fairy Tale. Her debut novel is scheduled for release in 2023 by Aunt Lute Books.
BA Speech Communication - University of IL at Urbana
MFA Creative Writing - Goddard College
Race shapes the social, political, economic, and cultural institutions of our country and, along with them, produces ongoing racial disparities. Black youth, in particular, suffer from assumptions and stereotypes that legitimize these disparities. Using improvisation techniques, youth will create and present an original play conceived, written, and performed by the youth themselves on a topic of their choice. This experience helps to create a positive environment and interactions among the youth and offers the opportunity for diverse communities to get to know about and understand each other. Since they create the script, participants will be paid as storytellers, actors, and writers. They may also choose to do their own choreography or create original music to help promote an understanding of their culture. It is important that the youth understand their value as artists and learn to expect to be paid for their artistic talent. Studies have shown that arts education can help students develop skills to help them do well academically and to succeed in life after high school. I have taught theater and storytelling in the Seattle Public Schools and neighborhood programs for over 20 years, including Powerful Schools and Richard Hugo House after school programs. My experience as a teaching artist also includes residencies for Freehold Theater at the Washington Correctional Center for Women and the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative in addition to several community based programs for adults and children. My most recent experience was working with BIPOC youth on a play about gun violence funded by Seattle Parks and Recreation.