Linda Parris-Bailey


Doris Duke Artist Award, 2015
Theatre

Knoxville, TN

Linda Parris-Bailey is primary Playwright-in-Residence and Executive/Artistic Director of the Knoxville, TN-based Carpetbag Theatre Inc., “a professional, multigenerational ensemble company dedicated to the production of new works giving artistic voice to the issues and dreams of people who have been silenced by racism, classism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression.” Her story-based plays with music focused on themes of transformation and empowerment. Her current work, Speed Killed My Cousin (2012), presents the story of a young, African-American female veteran of the Iraq War, and her struggle with Post Traumatic Stress disorder and Military Sexual Trauma was awarded a NEFA National Theater Project grant to support touring (2015) and an NPN Creation Fund grant (2011). Between a Ballad and a Blues (2008), her ode to Appalachian renaissance man Howard “Louie Blue” Armstrong, was developed with support from the NPN Creation Fund (2007) and the Arts Presenters Ensemble Theatre Collaborations (2006).

  • Linda Parris-Bailey
  • Linda Parris-Bailey- Speed Killed My Cousin (2012): /122022378
    Speed Killed My Cousin (2012)
  • Linda Parris-Bailey- Between a Ballad and a Blues (2008): /122016675
    Between a Ballad and a Blues (2008)
  • Photo Credit: James Geiger
    Speed Killed My Cousin
  • Photo Credit: James Geiger
    Speed Killed My Cousin
  • Photo Credit: Pin Lim
    Speed Killed My Cousin
  • Photo Credit: Pin Lim
    Speed Killed My Cousin
  • Photo Credit: Pin Lim
    Speed Killed My Cousin

What fuels your impulse to make creative work?

My work is fueled by story. Stories that have been unheard and people, who have been rendered invisible, are the ones that whisper in my ear, the ghosts that surround me. What motivates me to create are the moments when I can see clearly a path to change. When story becomes a way to move beyond trauma and pain, beyond the boundaries created by those who do not want us to fly. My impulse to create is defiant and haunting and compassionate. The stories that speak to me are wise beyond my years and beyond my knowing. I write so that they will speak to me and share their knowledge. I write from a place where I am healed and whole and I fully embrace my own humanity.