Julia Cho

In stagecraft intimate with cadences of the spoken and unspoken, Julia Cho enlivens human connection in the languages of home and estrangement.

A native of Los Angeles, Julia Cho is the author of nine plays. Subtle, intimate, and wildly intelligent, Cho’s work explores the power and frailty of human connection—between cultures, between individuals, between generations, between institutions. Her characters are full of feeling but never sentimental; her plots are simple but rich with implication, their submerged meanings arising gradually, line by line, scene by scene. In Aubergine (2016), food becomes an act of translation between a young man and his dying father. In Office Hour (2017), Cho imagines an array of possible resolutions—some moving, some terrifying—to the story of an angry creative writing student unable to communicate with his classmates or instructors. In The Language Archive (2010), a scholar of dead and dying languages must confront his inability to express himself, and his own existential loneliness, to his estranged wife. Alternately lyrical and sharp, rigorous and whimsical, Cho’s plays demand that we listen: to feeling, to language, to one another. An alumna of Amherst College, the University of California, Berkeley, the Julliard School, and New York University, Cho also writes for television and film. She has been a recipient of a Lilly Award (2019), the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize (2010), the Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwright Award (2005), and the Claire Tow Award for Emerging Artists (2005), among many other honors.

I never dreamed I would be honored in this way. Being the recipient of such an extraordinary award fills me with joy and encourages me more than I could ever express. JULIA CHO