Becca Blackwell

Doris Duke Impact Award, 2015

New York, NY

A trans actor and performer with a circus background, Becca Blackwell’s performing career includes collaborations with artists such as Jennifer Miller/Circus Amok and Young Jean Lee. Existing between genders, and preferring the pronoun “they,” Blackwell works collaboratively with playwrights and directors to expand our sense of personhood and the body through performance. Blackwell’s past roles include Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show, a textless dance theatre piece set to pop music, and Tina Satter/Half Straddle’s Seagull (Thinking of you), an adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull and his other comedic writings. A regular on the web series Jack in a Box, Blackwell also recently performed in Jack Spicer’s Billy the Kid, a collaborative musical by Lisa D’Amour, Brooke O’Harra, and composer Brendan Connelly. Blackwell is currently working on They, Themself and Schmerm, based on a self-produced video (called Me, Myself and I) by the late actor Corey Haim, which will premiere in October 2015.

  • Photo Credit: Michael DeAngelis
  • Becca Blackwell- Trifles (2010): /114092515
    Trifles (2010)
  • Becca Blackwell- Seagull (Thinking of You) (2013): /126830183
    Seagull (Thinking of You) (2013)
  • Photo Credit: Allison Michael Orenstein
    Art Direction: Signe Mae Olsen

Suppose you just met someone who didn't know your work. What project from the past 10 years would you direct them to as an entry point to you and your work, and why?

My artistic career began when I met Jennifer Miller in 1999 and started working with Circus Amok. Prior to Amok I had been working in a very straight, heteronormative circles of entertainment. I was quickly absorbed into the Circus’s band of queers, freaks and activists, and found in the company and the productions a family and an inspiring home. I began to see a new version of my artistic self in the world, able to make work that used my personal experiences to create performances and narratives that looked outward. I continued with Circus until 2008 when I was welcomed into a larger community of downtown experimental artists. In particular, working with Brooke O’Hara in LaMama’s Room For Cream exposed me to artists working in different mediums that continue to shape my artistic life. My work continues to be a reflection of these incredible creative minds.