From May 24 – October 2, Intiman Theatre’s 2016 Festival will highlight about 20 plays by Black women including Diamond, Alice Childress, Dominique Morisseau and Adrienne Kennedy.

Intiman Theatre is excited to kick off it’s 2016 Festival with a production of Stick Fly, a play by one of America’s most influential modern voices, Lydia R. Diamond. 

Diamond explores themes of families, class and identity in her works and brings Black characters and communities to the stage. Her other award-winning plays — including Harriet Jacobs, The Bluest Eye, The Gift Horse and Smart People — have been produced across the country.

“I remember standing in line for The Color Purple with my in-laws and my mother,” Diamond said in a 2005 interview with the New York Times. “and seeing Black audiences lined up around the block twice. That was sort of mind blowing for me. I thought, I don’t know why we don’t see more things like this here if there are this many people lining up to see them.”

Stick Fly uses humor and drama to tell the story of a well-to-do Black family with plenty of secrets to hide. As characters reveal more about themselves, Stick Fly shows the joys and struggles of family and the power of connection.

“The Play explores the painful imperfections of family,” Intiman Theatre’s Stick Fly director Justin Emeka said. “It’s our family who holds us up but family also holds us down. We can’t outrun those flaws and strengths.”

Five Facts | Lydia R. Diamond

  1. Diamond’s Stick Fly opened on Broadway in 2012 and the cast included the TV and movie actor Mekhi Phifer and the stage veteran Ruben Santiago-Hudson.
  2. In 2005, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company premiered Diamond’s dramatic adaptation of Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye, which won the Black Arts Alliance Image Award for Best New Play.
  3. After graduating from Northwestern University, Diamond started her own theatre company called Another Small Black Theatre Company.
  4. Diamond started writing Stick Fly when she was working on Voyeurs de Venus, a play about based on the true story of a 19th century African woman named Saartjie Baartman.
  5. Diamond studied acting at Northwestern University, before finding her calling in playwriting and earned a degree in theatre and performance studies in 1991.

Diamond’s work has won the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago Black Excellence Award, an American Alliance for Theatre and Education Award, a Back Stage Garland Award, a Black Theatre Alliance’s Negro Ensemble Company Award for Best Play and Lorraine Hansberry Award for Best Writing, an Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Award, an LA Weekly Theater Award, and a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award. She received an Illinois Arts Council Grant and has been in residence at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago through the NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights.

Diamond has been a W.E.B. DuBois Institute Fellow and a Huntington Playwrighting Fellow and is a member of the Theatre Communications Group board and the Huntington Theatre Company’s Council of Overseers.