• Luis Alfaro
  • Luis Alfaro

Luis Alfaro

Associate Professor of Dramatic Writing
Director of MFA Dramatic Writing Program


Luis Alfaro is a Chicano playwright born and raised blocks from USC in the Pico-Union district of downtown Los Angeles.

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 has also received recognition from: the PEN America/Laura Pels International Foundation Theater Award for a Master Dramatist; United States Artist Fellowship; Ford Foundation’s Art of Change Fellowship; Joyce Foundation Fellowship; Mellon Foundation Fellowship, and the Annenberg Artist-in-Residence for the city of Santa Monica; among others. He is the only playwright to have received two Kennedy Center ‘Fund for New American Play’ awards in the same year.

Alfaro spent six seasons as the inaugural playwright-in-residence of the 90-year-old Oregon Shakespeare Festival (2013-2019); a member of the Playwright’s Ensemble at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre (2013-2020); a resident artist at the Mark Taper Forum (1995-2005); an inaugural member of the Latinx Playwrights ‘Circle of Imaginistas’ at the Los Angeles Theatre Center (2021); and has worked with the Ojai Playwrights Conference since 2002.

His plays and performances include Electricidad, Oedipus El Rey, Mojada, Delano, Body of Faith, Straight as a Line, and have been seen at regional theatres throughout the United States, Latin America, Canada and Europe.

Alfaro spent over two decades in the Los Angeles Poetry and Performance Art communities.

He is an associate professor with tenure at the University of Southern California (USC). Previously, he taught at California Institute of the Arts (Cal-Arts), and in the Writers Program at UCLA Extension.

He has an Emmy-nominated short film, Chicanismo (Best Experimental Film, San Antonio CineFestival, Best Short, CineAccion San Francisco) and an award-winning recording, down town, on SST/New Alliance Records (Best Spoken-Word Release, National Association of Independent Record Distributors).