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Co-presented with Marfa Independent School District



Monday-Friday, April 16-20, 2018



In collaboration with Marfa ISD, Marfa Live Arts brought playwright Diana Burbano to teach the 7th Annual Playwriting Workshop at Marfa High School. 


Classes began Monday, April 16th with Burbano who currently lives in Long Beach, California, and is originally from Neiva, Colombia. During English class, Burbano led students through a series of creative writing exercises guiding students to develop characters and plots, while pulling from their memories and life experiences. 


The weeklong workshop resulted in each student writing their own original one-act play. In the seven years Marfa Live Arts has hosted this writing workshop, students have written over 500 plays. Previous Marfa Live Arts playwrights in residence include Octavio Solis (whose work in Disney’s COCO recently won an Academy Award), Liz Castillo, Raul Garza, and Georgina Escobar.


Through embracing her personal identity as an immigrant and her challenges as a young student, Burbano brought her unique perspective and teaching style to the program. She said, “I have a learning disability that makes it difficult to sit still for very long, and made it impossible to write well longhand. I don’t learn from lecture, I learn from doing, so I teach that way. Also as a person of color, I didn’t understand where or how I belonged, I didn’t understand who I was and spent way too much time trying to shoehorn myself into some else's skin. I think high schoolers today are up against so much adversity, and they are brave and defiant and I salute them for that.”


The Playwriting Workshop has been recognized by school administration and educators as an effective way to improve students writing skills while developing their critical thinking and building self-confidence. Burbano was excited about her time in Marfa not only for what she will share with the students but also for the opportunity to learn from them. Burbano expanded on this idea “I’m always nurtured and fed by working with young people. They are so open and quick to embrace new things, and to try, and to leap. I come away from teaching workshops filled with hope and sometimes with characters and people who live in my head and inspire my own writing.” 


Burbano was also the judge in reviewing the student plays. Nearly 85 finished plays will be in consideration for final selection for a staged performance at the Crowley Theater during the 7th Annual One-Act Plays on Thursday, April 26, 2018. One play from each grade will be selected and winners will be given prizes and their names  announced at a school assembly. Marfa Live Arts also held an art contest at Marfa ISD for this year’s poster. The winning artist’s work will be revealed on the poster early next week. 


The Annual Playwriting Workshop has become a cornerstone of Marfa Live Arts’ education program. “When students are given the creative tools to reach and expand, they end up searching deep within, finding their authentic voice, which is a powerful resource that can serve them all their lives,” says Marfa Live Arts' Director and the playwriting program's founder Jennie Lyn Hamilton.


Diana Burbano, a Colombian immigrant, is an Equity actor, playwright and teaching artist at South Coast Repertory and Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble. Full length plays: Fabulous Monsters about women in punk rock, Silueta (With Tom and Chris Shelton) about feminist artist Ana Mendieta. Policarpa which will have a Rough Draft Residency at the Drama League in May. Picture me Rollin’ was featured at the Hollywood InkFest, 2017, Other plays: Enemy|Flint, Caliban’s Island, (published by YouthPLAYS). Libertadoras, Vamping and Linda  were written for the 365 Women a Year project and have been performed around the world. Rounds Per Second is featured in Smith and Kraus’s 5-minute play anthology.

Images from the 2017 program:


Marfa Live Arts and the 7th Annual One-Act Plays are generously supported by the Marfa Education Foundation, Kirkpatrick Family Fund, Texas Women for the Arts, Hotel Paisano, City of Marfa. This program could not be realized without the collaboration of Marfa Independent School District’s Superintendent Oscar Aguero, Principal John Sherrill, PhD and educators Linda Ojeda and Mary Mois. Special thanks to Big Bend Sentinel, Tim Crowley & Emily Williams of Crowley Theater, Rob Crowley, Vicki Barge, Joe & Lanna Duncan, Mayor Ann Marie Nafzinger and Delfin & Minerva Lopez.

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