Luis Alfaro

Associate Professor of Dramatic Writing


Luis Alfaro is an associate professor at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. He is a Chicano writer/performer known for his work in poetry, theatre, short stories, performance and journalism. He is the first-ever resident playwright of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, courtesy of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant. Alfaro is also a producer/director who spent 10 years at the Mark Taper Forum as associate producer, director of new play development and co-director of the Latino Theatre Initiative.

He was born and raised in the Pico/Union district of downtown Los Angeles, blocks from the USC campus. Alfaro is the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship, popularly known as a “genius grant,” awarded to people who have demonstrated expertise and exceptional creativity in their respective fields. He was a Joyce Foundation Fellow and received awards from the The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, as well The Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund. He is the only artist to have won two awards in the same year from The Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American Plays. He is also the recipient of awards from the National Endowment of the Arts, Theatre Communications Group and PEN USA, among others. He is featured in over 25 anthologies, has an award-winning spoken word CD, and PBS short film, Chicanismo. He is a member of New Dramatists, an associate artist at Playwrights Arena and Cornerstone Theatre Company in Los Angeles.

His plays and performances have been seen throughout the U.S., Canada, England, France and Romania. They include Bruja (Magic Theatre in San Francisco), Oedipus El Rey (Victory Gardens in Chicago, Magic Theatre, Boston Court, Woolly Mammoth in Washington, D.C. and is the winner of the Glickman Prize for best play of the 2010 season in San Francisco, as well as Best Adaptation from the L.A. Weekly Theatre Awards), Electricidad (Mark Taper Forum, Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Borderlands Theatre in Tucson), Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Hartford Stage in Conn.), Black Butterfly (Mark Taper Forum, Kennedy Center & Smithsonian Museum), Straight as a Line (Primary Stages Off-Broadway, Romanian National Theatre, Goodman Theatre in Chicago). His solo performances have been seen at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, The Getty Center, Boston Center for the Arts, The Goodman Theatre, Hirshorn Museum at the Smithsonian, South Coast Repertory, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and X-Teresa Performance Space in Mexico City, among others. His one-man show, St. Jude, world premiered as part of DouglasPlus at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre and was presented as a part of South Coast Repertory’s Studio SCR series.


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