Vera Starbard at Perseverance Theatre

Playwright

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. It 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.

Theatre

Perseverance Theatre’s mission is to create professional theatre by and for Alaskans. We value community engagement, cross-cultural collaboration, professional rigor, and regional voice.

How has this residency changed the theatre, and how has this residency changed the playwright? — March 2018

More from the Residency

Text: transforming artistic relationships
TRANSFORMING ARTISTIC RELATIONSHIPS (Live-captioned)
Video

TRANSFORMING ARTISTIC RELATIONSHIPS (Live-captioned)

New Models of Partnership Between Playwrights and Theaters

Tuesday 28 July 2020
Minneapolis MN United States

Playwrights' Center presented TRANSFORMING ARTISTIC RELATIONSHIPS livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 28 July 2020 at 5 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 6 p.m. MDT (Denver, UTC -6) / 7 p.m. CDT (Minneapolis, UTC -5) / 8 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

Look for the Helpers: Learnings and Teachings for Building Resilience (ASL & Captioned)
Video

Look for the Helpers: Learnings and Teachings for Building Resilience (ASL & Captioned)

an #ArtistResource talk with Leslie Ishii, Lana Smithner, Aaron McKinney, David Shmidt Chapman, and B. Anderson

Tuesday 14 April 2020
United States

Livestreamed the #ArtistResource panel Look for the Helpers: Learnings and Teachings for Building Resilience (ASL & Captioned) on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 14 April 2020 at 8 a.m. HST (Honolulu, UST-10) / 10 a.m. AKDT (Juneau, UTC-8) / 11 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 1 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 2 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4).

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 on stage
What Indigenous Writers Can Bring to Theatre
Essay

What Indigenous Writers Can Bring to Theatre

22 August 2018

Ishmael Hope (Tlingit) writes about why we need to support Native playwrights.

actors onstage
Healing Stories from Naa Kahidi Theatre
Essay

Healing Stories from Naa Kahidi Theatre

21 August 2018

Actor and former Naa Kahidi Theatre ensemble member Allan Hayton(Gwich’in) reflects on the history of the company and how theatre can be used as a tool for community building and healing.

two actors onstage
Navigating Western Theatre And Ancient Inupiaq Responsibilities
Essay

Navigating Western Theatre And Ancient Inupiaq Responsibilities

20 August 2018

Playwright Lucas Rowley (Inupiaq) reflects on navigating expectations of Western theatre while also balancing his Inupiaq traditions and community responsibilities.

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.