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 How to Hide Your Monster, New Eden, Me and My Shadow, Kilgore, Hoarse, Cut Here, The Good Life, The Pond, Robots in the Ring, Survivors and Carny Veil have been presented in Boise, regionally and in NYC through BCT, id Theater, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, The Cabin, HomeGrown Theatre (HGT), Death Rattle Writers Festival, Boise Creative & Improvised Music Festival, 4Q Gallery, Gallery Alexa Rose and Treefort Music Festival. Co-devised work includes SuperSecretSiteSpecificSomething, receiving a sold-out run at BCT, and HGT’S DIRT, awarded grants from Boise City Department of Arts & History and Boise Weekly. Other honors include semi-finalist placements at PlayPenn for New Eden and for Carny Veil at Spotlight On playwriting competition. Selected poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction has been published through ZO Magazine, Black Heart Magazine, Limn Literary & Arts Journal, Boise 150, Ascent Aspirations, GEM Magazine, Anastomoo, The Zodiac Review, The 5-2, and 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 is a 2016 MFA recipient in Creative Inquiry, Interdisciplinary Arts from California Institute of Integral Studies. A teaching artist through The Cabin and BCT Theater Lab, she’s also led workshops for Idaho Writers Guild, College of Idaho and Sage International Schools. Kraay is a member Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. 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.
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