Vera Starbard (Tlingit/Dena’ina)

Vera Starbard (Tlingit/Dena'ina) is the resident playwright at Perseverance Theatre, editor of First Alaskans Magazine, and writer for the PBS Kids animated series Molly of Denali.

Vera Starbard, T’set Kwei, is a Tlingit and Dena’ina writer and editor. She is Playwright-in-Residence at Perseverance Theatre through the Andrew W. Mellon National Playwright Residency Program and Editor of First Alaskans Magazine. Vera is also a writer for the PBS Kids children’s program “Molly of Denali,” which won a Peabody Award in 2020.

She has won numerous local, statewide and national individual writing and editing awards, including the Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award and Alaska Literary Award. Vera currently serves on the HowlRound Advisory Council, and Kachemak Bay Writer's Conference Board, as well as serving as a founding member of Alaska Native playwright group Dark Winter Productions.

Her full-length play “Our Voices Will Be Heard” premiered at Perseverance Theatre in 2016, and was then published in the textbook “Contemporary Plays by Women of Color” in 2017, and turned into a one-hour radio adaptation that aired nationwide in 2018.

Vera lives with her husband Joe Bedard (Inupiaq/Yup’ik/Cree) on Dena'ina land - now called Anchorage, Alaska.

T’set Kwei yóo xát duwasáakw. Yeil áyá xát. T’eeneidi naax xát sitee. Craig kwáandáx áyá xát. T’akdeintaan yádi áyá xát.

 

 

two actors onstage
Playwrights Nurturing Cultural Community
Essay

Playwrights Nurturing Cultural Community

Pearl Cleage and Vera Starbard in Conversation, Part II

15 January 2020

In part two of their conversation, Vera Starbard and Pearl Cleage—playwrights-in-residence at Juneau, Alaska’s Perseverance Theatre and Atlanta, Georgia’s Alliance Theatre, respectively—talk about different cultural practices, the white gaze, moving away from anger, and more.

three actors onstage
Vocalizing Difficult Issues as Playwrights in Residence
Essay

Vocalizing Difficult Issues as Playwrights in Residence

Pearl Cleage and Vera Starbard in Conversation, Part I

14 January 2020

In part one of their conversation, playwrights Vera Starbard and Pearl Cleage talk about their respective residencies—at Juneau, Alaska’s Perseverance Theatre and Atlanta, Georgia’s Alliance Theatre, respectively—race and representation at their institutions, not writing for a white audience, and more.

a lake surrounded by mountains
What Does the Play Need?
Essay

What Does the Play Need?

Why I Cancelled a Workshop in Favor of a Two-Week Trip Through Rural Alaska

6 May 2019

Playwright Vera Starbard (Tlingit/Dena’ina) reflects on her journey through rural Alaskan Native communities to reawaken the ancestral spirit of her work, Native Pride (and Prejudice).

a group of people
Alaska Native Theatre Comes of Age
Essay

Alaska Native Theatre Comes of Age

19 August 2018

Vera Starbard (Tlingit/Dena’ina) introduces the series on Alaskan theatre through the lens of Alaska Native performance and storytelling.

Playwright Residency
Essay

Playwright Residency

Why Vera Starbard? Why Perseverance Theatre?

30 July 2016

Art Rotch, Executive Artistic Director of Perseverance Theatre and playwright-in-residence Vera Starbard discuss their participation in the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s National Playwright Residency Program.

Alaska Native Theatre
Series

Alaska Native Theatre

The first Alaskans have been telling the real story of the land for thousands of years. Yet so often, these are not the stories the rest of the world, or often even the rest of Alaska, knows outside of our communities.