Discipline: Theatre – playwriting

Bonnie Metzgar

Discipline: Theatre – playwriting
Region: Chicago, IL
MacDowell Fellowships: 2018

Bonnie Metzgar is a playwright, director, and cultural producer who specializes in creating socially-provocative theater works across the U.S. Metzgar is also an activist using intersectional politics to make structural change in the nonprofit American theater – recently, Metzgar led American Theater Company in Chicago through the artistic leadership search that hired Will Davis, the first trans-identified artistic leader of a major cultural institution in the U.S. From 2008-2013, Metzgar served as artistic director of About Face Theatre, the biggest theater in the U.S. dedicated to advancing the cultural dialogue on sexuality, politics, and gender identity. She served on the Founding National Advisory Council for Howlround, the global online theater commons.

Metzgar was a member of the Goodman Theater’s resident Playwrights Unit and was awarded the Carl Djerassi Fellowship in Playwriting at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her plays have been finalists for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Festival, and selected for the Great Plains Theater Conference in Omaha. Recent directing: Let Me Down Easy by Anna Deveare Smith at ATC, The Secretaries by the Five Lesbian Brothers at About Face, and Walk Across America For Mother Earth by Taylor Mac for Red Tape as part of Garage Rep at Steppenwolf. Her commission for Sideshow Theater, Liberty Tree, had a reading at Victory Gardens in spring 2016.

Metzgar is best known as co-creator of the landmark international public art project called the 365 Festival -- a yearlong play cycle based on 365 Days/365 Plays written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Fellow Suzan Lori Parks in 2006-2007. Previously, she served as associate producer at the Public Theater under George C. Wolfe where she founded Joe’s Pub. Metzgar has taught at Brown, Northwestern, University of Chicago, Purdue, University of Wisconsin, DePaul, and enjoys an ongoing relationship with the low-residency M.F.A. program at Hollins University. She received her M.F.A. in playwriting from the University of Iowa and her B.A. from Brown.

At MacDowell, Metzgar completed the first draft of a new play about a town where there is a shark in the water. She directed the world premiere of Diagram of a Paper Airplane by Carlos Murillo at American Theater Company in Chicago in May 2018.



Bonnie Metzgar worked in the Mixter studio.

Built in 1927–1930, the Florence Kilpatrick Mixter Studio was funded by its namesake and designed by the architect F. Winsor, Jr., who also designed MacDowell's original Savidge Library in 1925. Mixter Studio, solidly built of yellow and grey-hued granite, once had sweeping views of Pack Monadnock to the east. The lush forest has now grown…

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