Discipline: Theatre – playwriting

Haruna Lee

Discipline: Theatre – playwriting
Region: Brooklyn, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2021

Haruna Lee is an Obie Award-winning Taiwanese/Japanese/American theater maker, educator, and community steward whose work is rooted in a liberation-based healing practice. They are committed to promoting arts activism and emergent strategies for the theater through ethical and process-based collaborations that challenge systems and legacies of power, while inviting the fullness of marginalized bodies and the complexity of lived experiences to this practice. Lee’s Off Broadway transfer of their play Suicide Forest (The New York Times Critic's Pick) ended early due to the pandemic, and is published by 53rd State Press. They were a member of the 2019 artEquity cohort, and is a co-founder and lead facilitator for the Women-Trans-Femme-Non Binary Asian Diasporic Performance Makers Potluck.

During their MacDowell residency, they finished work on the pilot episode of Opening Up, and continued work on a new play about the death of a matriarch that impacts three generations of a Japanese family, and the traditional funeral rites that connect the living with those that have passed. They also conducted extensive research on a project about their polyamorous practice of love and intimacy, and how this is deeply influenced by their immigrant upbringing; examining how grief, isolation, and silence show up as sexualized narratives in the Asian American body, and the practice of polyamory as an act of radical revision. Lee received the FCA Grants to Artist Award and the Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation's Ollie Award in 2021, and an Obie Award for the conception and playwriting of Suicide Forest in 2020.

Portrait by Sasha Arutyunova



Haruna Lee worked in the Schelling studio.

Marian MacDowell funded construction of this studio the year that the organization was established and the first artists arrived for residency. It was called Bark Studio until 1933, when it was renamed in honor of Ernest Schelling, a composer, pianist, and orchestral leader who served as president of what was then called the Edward MacDowell…

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