Playwright Heidi Kraay makes theater and bridges gaps between genres through collaboration, finding the space between words. She makes art in order to live better. Kraay’s work examines the connection between brain and body, seeking empathy with fractured characters. She knew by age 12 she was a writer. Undergoing a psychotic break in high school and facing deep disorder, her creative and academic progress was halted for treatment. Inside a decade of recovery and relapse, Kraay was given an ultimatum: school or lifetime disability. She chose Boise State University. Studying at BSU’S Theatre Arts Department saved her, so Kraay devoted her life to theater. Learning the stage from back to front, she focused on dramatic writing and design, graduating magna cum laude. Working backstage at the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Boise Contemporary Theater (BCT) gave her flexibility in time and insight into theatrical space to support her playwriting. This led her to experiment with interdisciplinary collaborations and aesthetic vocabulary in her plays Robots in the Ring and Mere Ending. Then Kraay hit bottom, leaving town with a sociopath, living homeless with him in cult-like existence. This time, writing saved her, teaching her to trust her mind. She woke up, left the con artist and rebuilt her life. She stopped identifying with diagnoses in exchange for creative identities. Practicing writing and physical theater training through SITI Company workshops in Viewpoints and Suzuki Method gave Kraay tools to live better by making art.
Her plays, including Ark, Wolf/Girl, Unwind: Hindsight is 2020, see in the dark, How to Hide Your Monster, New Eden, Me and My Shadow, Kilgore, Rajpurr: Tale of a Tiger, Slap! A Beaver Tale, Polar Opposites: An Impossible Tale, CloudMelt, lift, The Way Up, Ways Not to Drown, Somewhere on the Pacific, Hoarse, Cut Here, The Good Life, The Pond, Survivors and Carny Veil have been presented in Boise, regionally, in NYC and internationally, most recently through Surel’s Place, Barnard College, Spark Creative Works, West of Lenin, Oregon Contemporary Theatre, Women’s Theatre Festival, Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre and Playwrights' Round Table.
Kraay was a founding associate artist for Migration Theory from 2015 - 2021, for which she co-devised SuperSecretSiteSpecificSomething and small matters. Other co-devised work includes HGT’S DIRT, awarded grants from Boise City Department of Arts & History and Boise Weekly. She has been a top finalist at the Women Playwrights’ Initiative, a finalist at Mazim Mazumdar New Play Competition, Southwest Theatre Productions, Purple Crayon Players PLAYground Festival of Fresh Works, Campfire Theatre Festival, Creede Repertory Theatre’s Headwaters Festival and a semi-finalist at UP Theater Company, Local Theater, International Award for Improper Dramaturgy, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Unicorn Theatre, Eugene O’Neill Center, PlayPenn, B-Street Theatre and Spotlight On playwriting competition. Her work has been awarded grants from the Covid Cultural Commissioning Fund, Idaho Commission on the Arts, Alexa Rose Foundation, Boise City Department of Arts & History and Boise Weekly.
Selected drama, poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction has been published through Smith & Kraus, Magical Women Magazine, Z Publishing, Willow Creek Journal, Timshel Magazine, Before/After Godwink Journal, Dramatist Guild Magazine, ZO Magazine, Black Heart Magazine, Limn Literary & Arts Journal, Boise 150, Ascent Aspirations, GEM Magazine, Anastomoo, The Zodiac Review, The 5-2, Bewildering Stories and The Cabin's Writers in the Attic anthologies.
Always making, sharing and learning, in 2014 Boise State NPR named Kraay one of Boise’s 5 top emerging artists. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Boise State University, with emphases in Dramatic Writing and Design, and an MFA in Creative Inquiry, Interdisciplinary Arts from California Institute of Integral Studies. Heidi is an adjunct professor through the Department of Theatre, Film and Creative Writing at Boise State University and a teaching writer through The Cabin. She has been a teaching artist through BCT Theater Lab and has led workshops for Idaho Writers Guild, College of Idaho and Sage International Schools. She is available for one-on-one mentorships. Through her plays and writing, Kraay transforms monstrous memories into mythic theater in order to speak to the silenced, so we can all move forward and live new stories. Kraay is a proud member Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.
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