Playwright and director Rhiana Yazzie is a Navajo Nation citizen (Ta’neeszahnii bashishchiin dóó Táchii’nii dashinalí) and founder/artistic director of the New Native Theatre in the Twin Cities. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s master of professional writing program where she produced events featuring Stephen Hawking, Madeleine Albright, Herbie Hancock, and Spalding Gray.
Her plays have been seen on stages from Alaska to Mexico and she is the recipient of several awards and accolades including Playwrights’ Center Fellowships (McKnight 2016/17 & Jerome 2006 & 2010), a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship in 2018, a Sally Ordway Award for Vision in 2017, a Lanford Wilson award in 2021, and was a 2020 Steinberg Award winning playwright.
Yazzie has been co-commissioned to write Nancy, a play with Long Wharf and Rattlestick theatres. The play is a Native bio-perspective on Nancy Reagan is a sequel to Queen Cleopatre and Princess Pocahontas. Her first feature film, A Winter Love, which she wrote, directed, produced, and acted in, premiered at festivals in 2021/22.
During her first MacDowell residency, she worked on her second and third screenplays: a comedy set in Minneapolis' urban Native community and the story of the 1975 AIM trial