“Claire Willett’s plays seek to unearth the hard emotional truths that underlie loss, grief and questions pertaining to faith . . . Her dialogue is truthful, her characters fully human, and the questions she has them wrestle with provoke the kind of debate about personal history, family, faith and belief that is the substance of our strongest theatre and playwriting. Willett is at an early stage of her playwriting career, and it is clear from this breakthrough play that she has found a resonant, thoughtful and emotionally truthful voice. I hope and anticipate we’ll hear more of it for some time to come.”
–Chicago playwright Carlos Murillo, judge of the 2011 Oregon Literary Fellowship for Drama
Playwright Claire Willett was the summer 2011 Writer-In-Residence at the I-Park Artists’ Colony in East Haddam, CT. was named the 2011 Oregon Literary Fellow for Drama, and was a finalist for the 2011 Fox Valley Repertory Collider Project (a new initiative supporting the creation of new plays about science and technology) as well as a semifinalist for the 2010 Princess Grace Foundation Playwriting Fellowship.
Three of her plays have been produced as staged readings in Portland’s annual Fertile Ground Festival of New Works: Upon Waking in 2009, How the Light Gets In in 2010, and That Was the River, This Is the Sea (co-written with Gilberto Martin del Campo) in 2011. Portland theatre blogger, editor and literary director Mead Hunter called How the Light Gets In “a sassy psychological breakthrough story that deftly avoided the usual traps of sentiment and sententiae, and showed us that Claire is very much a writer to watch.”
Claire has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Whitman College in Washington, where her first play Requiem: God Breathing was the top faculty pick in the 2002 student-written One Act Play Contest. She is also a graduate of the Paul A. Kaplan Theatre Management Program at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City.
She has lived in Tokyo, Ireland and the Bronx but now resides in her hometown of Portland, where she works as a fundraising consultant and social media specialist for arts nonprofits. She is currently the Grants and Content Manager for Oregon Ballet Theatre.
Her works in progress include Dear Galileo: or, “We Are Stardust,” which explores astrophysics, fathers and daughters, and the conflict between science and faith; and a retelling of the life of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, set in Depression-era New York City, entitled Where There Is Darkness, Light.