Brooke O'Harra


Doris Duke Impact Award, 2015
Theatre

Philadelphia, PA

In 1999, Brooke O’Harra co-founded, with composer Brendan Connelly, the NYC-based The Theatre of a Two-headed Calf. The ensemble-driven company layers various theatrical styles, texts and musical forms for unexpected experiences such as the 1970s punk rock-inspired adaptation of the 18th-century, Chikamatsu play Drum of the Waves of Horikawa (OBIE Award, 2007), or the re-imagined take on chamber opera and motherhood, You, My Mother (2012).  As part of the Dyke Division of Two-headed Calf, she conceived, directed, wrote, and performed the popular lesbian soap opera Room For Cream, (La Mama, 2008-2011).  In addition to developing and directing all 14 of the Two-headed Calf productions, she is also a freelance director with multiple honors including a NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors grant. She recently developed a new musical with Lisa D’Amour and composer Brendan Connelly titled Jack Spicer’s Billy the Kid, which featured Becca Blackwell. She also has an ongoing collaborative performance, Time Passes, with visual artist Sharon Hayes.

  • Photo Credit: Katherine Endy
  • Brooke O'Harra- Drum of the Waves of Horikawa (2007): /114520522
    Drum of the Waves of Horikawa (2007)
  • Brooke O'Harra- "Entrances and Exits,” from Season 2 of Room for Cream (2010) : /127168363
    "Entrances and Exits,” from Season 2 of Room for Cream (2010)
  • Brooke O'Harra- You, My Mother (2012): /107562910
    You, My Mother (2012)
  • Photo Credit: Prudence Katze
    You, My Mother (2012)
  • Photo Credit: Prudence Katze
    You, My Mother (2012)
  • Photo Credit: Nina Hoffman
    Drum of the Waves of Horikawa (2007)
  • Photo Credit: Andrea Geyer
    Time Passes

What are your key goals for the award period? What challenges, desires, drives, or needs are inspiring these goals?

I aspire to contribute to a vibrant aesthetic and political conversation that speaks both of and to those artists who came before me as well as of and to those who are just now exerting their voice. My challenges are to resist the momentum of constantly producing and chasing projects as they propel themselves toward a public, to stop and look and listen so that I can make meaning of my work, and to fully embrace the power and potential of this moment. I want to work from the core of what theater does and can do, to hold open the space in my life to do that and to create theatrical forms and model theatrical practices that are expansive, progressive, and inexhaustible.