Darren Canady

Darren Canady
  • Professor

Contact Info

Wescoe Hall, Room 3138


I come from a family that revels in storytelling. Whether the story was joyful, elegiac, painful or cautionary, I grew up hearing, seeing, and listening to family stories that were only told if they could be performed with as much blood, life, exuberance, and expressiveness as possible. Many of these stories grew out of personal journeys experienced against the backdrop of Jim Crow, the Great Migration, and the Civil Rights Movement. As an heir to this oral tradition, my dramatic writing has become a natural outgrowth of the marriage of my filial storytelling traditions and the unique culture of African-American life in the Midwest. As new explorations of multiculturalism, urban life, and ethnic borderlands enter my playwriting, I nevertheless find myself consistently returning to investigations of family, history, and social change in the ever-changing landscape of the American heartland.

Selected Publications

Brothers of the Dust, Congo Square Theatre Company (Chicago, IL)

You’re Invited!,Old Vic New Voices, Old Vic Theatre (London, UK)

One Night Dickie Didn’t Come Home, Helen Hocker Center for the Performing Arts (Topeka, KS)

False Creeds, Alliance Theatre (Atlanta, GA)

He Was Mine But Then You Took Him, New York University (New York, NY)

Black Idiot Box,Scotch ‘n’ Soda Theatre - Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Sparkle in the Dust, Scotch ‘n’ Soda Theatre – Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Kerchiefs, The BE Company (New York, NY), March 2009

Muddy the Water, The BE Company, The Red Room Theatre (New York, NY)

How Theo Changed His Name, (Music by Matthew Heap, Libretto by Darren Canady), Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Pittsburgh, PA)

One Night at Fern’s, Quo Vadimus Arts’ ID America Festival (New York, NY)

False Creeds, National Playwrights Conference of the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center (Waterford, CT)

Awards & Honors

America-in-Play - Residency 

Primary Stages’ Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group - Residency 

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra - Residency 

 Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award, Alliance Theatre (Atlanta GA), May 2006

 Lecomte du Nouy Prize (The Juilliard School / Lincoln Center Theater)

Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award

Theodore Ward Prize for African-American Playwrights