Tarell Alvin McCraney

Tarell Alvin McCraney’s working class characters inhabit an extraordinary mythic universe, speaking a poetic language through which we grasp the spiritual stature of embattled people.

Tarell Alvin McCraney is a playwright and actor best known for his acclaimed trilogy, The Brother/Sister Plays, which blends myth with realism in the intergenerational story of an African-American community in Louisiana. McCraney’s has been lauded as the kind of voice that can define a generation; Ben Brantley wrote of The Brother/Sister Plays in the New York Times, “It’s what people must have felt during productions of the early works of Eugene O’Neill in the 1920s or of Sam Shepard in the 1960s.” McCraney is an ensemble member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, which premiered his new play Head of Passes this spring. He is also a resident playwright at New Dramatists and a member of Teo Castellanos/D-Projects in Miami, where he grew up in the Liberty City housing projects in the 1980s. McCraney’s other plays include The Breach (2008), about Hurricane Katrina, and Wig Out! (2007), about a family of New York drag queens. His latest play, Choir Boy, was produced at the Manhattan Theatre Club in June 2013. He is a graduate of DePaul University and the Yale School of Drama.

It is an extraordinary blessing to be named an inaugural recipient of the Windham-Campbell Prize at Yale. An added honor to do so alongside such incredible artists whom I admire greatly. TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY