Discipline: Theatre – performance

Ty Defoe

Discipline: Theatre – performance
Region: Brooklyn, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2022

Ty Defoe (Giizhig) is an Indigiqueer citizen of the Oneida Nation and Anishinaabe Nations. He is a writer, interdisciplinary artist, and Grammy Award winner. Ty aspires to an interweaving and “glitterizing” approach to artistic projects with liberation and environmentalism.

Ty’s global cultural arts highlights include the Millennium celebration in Cairo, Egypt; International Music Festival in Ankara, Turkey; and Festival of World Cultures in Dubai. He has won the Global Indigenous Heritage Festival Award, the Jonathan Larson Award, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, and he was a Cultural Capital Fellow with the First People’s Fund in 2021.

Works that he created and/or authored include Trail and Tears (with Dawn Avery), River of Stone, Red Pine, The Way They Lived, Ajijaak on Turtle Island, Hear Me Say My Name, The Lesson (with Avi Amon and Nolan Doran), and Firebird Tattoo, among others. He has recently released VR and digital media projects like ANAKWAD (with Dov Heichemer and _alpha), CIRCLE, Strong Like Flower (with Katherine Freer), and 2S+/Indigiqueer Pop Up Pow for Live in America (with Fusebox Festival).

Ty has been published in Casting a Movement: The Welcome Table Initiative, Pitkin Review, Kalíhwisaks, Thorny Locust Magazine, Howl Round, Routledge Press, and The Methuen Drama Book of Trans Plays for the Stage, among others.

He has also been a director for The Winer Bear (Perseverance Theater) and Midsummer Night’s Dream (Arizona Shakespeare Company). His movement direction includes Mother Road (OSF), Manahatta (OSF and Yale Rep), and he was choreographer for Tracy Lett’s The Minutes (Broadway). As an actor, he has appeared on Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and he had his Broadway acting debut in Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men, directed by Anna Shapiro.

Ty is an artEquity facilitator, co-founder of Indigenous Direction (with Larissa FastHorse), and a member of All My Relations Collective.



Ty Defoe worked in the Alexander studio.

Originally designed to be a visual art gallery, this facility was built in memory of the late John White Alexander and funded by Elizabeth Alexander and their son James. John White Alexander is highly regarded as a portrait painter and, in the early part of the 20th century, served on…

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