Andrea Stolowitz | Refugee Radio

While living in Berlin, playwright Andrea Stolowitz would sometimes listen to a radio program hosted by “El Capitan,” a Nigerian refugee now living in Germany. Using the medium of radio he leads refugees by his voice across the Mediterranean to Hamburg, providing them with advice, tips, and stories all along the way. Andrea was captivated by questions that arise when the largest refugee movement since WWII collides with fractious political climate and fear of terrorism: What happens when our desire to help and “do good” conflicts with our fear? What occurs when the hope for safety and asylum causes people to hide elements of their past? Is there one perspective with which to view a person’s story and history and what happens when this story can’t fit into easily understood notions of good and bad?

Presently titled Refugee Radio, Andrea’s new play will utilize the current refugee crisis as the point of departure. She will be writing with Artists Rep’s company of Resident Artists in mind, drawing on their talent and imaginations as she develops the play. Her early thoughts on the project include using a Rashomon-like structure and utilizing radio/recorded voice as a theatrical element designed to unite characters across time and location. 

Refugee Radio will be developed during summer of the 2016/17 season and workshopped at Artists Rep in the Fall of 2017.

Andrea Stolowitz’s plays have been developed and presented nationally and internationally at theaters such as The Long Wharf, The Old Globe, The Cherry Lane, and New York Stage and Film. The LA Times calls her work “heartbreaking” and the Orange County Register characterizes her approach as a “brave refusal to sugarcoat issues and tough decisions.”

A recipient of Artists Repertory Theater’s $25,000 Fowler/Levin New Play Prize, Andrea premiered her play ITHAKA at the theatre in 2013. The play had its mid-west premiere in Chicago in 2014 at InFusion Theater and its Canada premiere in May 2016. The play won the 2015 Oregon Book Award in Drama judged by Naomi Iizuka. 

Andrea’s play ANTARKTIKOS also won the Oregon Book Award for Drama (2013) and was published in July 2013 in TheatreForum magazine. The play world-premiered at The Pittsburgh Playhouse in March 2013 and was workshopped at The New Harmony Project (IN), Portland Center Stage’s JAW Festival, and Seattle Repertory Theater. It was nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and received a 2015 Kilroy’s List Honorable Mention. 

KNOWING CAIRO world-premiered at the Old Globe Theatre, which earned San Diego’s “Billie” Best New Play Award and an LA Times’ Critic’s Pick. It is published by Playscripts Inc. and continues to be produced nationally and internationally. It was presented at Profile Theater (OR) in 2013.

Andrea’s latest play BERLIN DIARY was presented at English Theater Berlin/International Performing Arts Center in October 2016. The play was supported through a DAAD fellowship, a year-long residency at ETB/IPAC, and grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, The Regional Arts and Culture Council, The Checkpoint Charlie Foundation, and The US Embassy. The play was developed at PlayPenn/The National Museum of American Jewish History and the New Harmony Project. BERLIN DIARY received its second production in Portland where it received audience and critical success, selling out for the entire run. 

Andrea works as a collaborating writer with the award-winning devised theater company Hand2Mouth Theater. Her current collaboration PEP TALK is touring nationally. The San Francisco Chronicle says “The genius of PEP TALK is that it is at once a collective the way the best drama has always been, while also being very funny and self-aware.” She is currently at work on their latest collaboration PSYCHIC UTOPIA.

Andrea is a resident company member at Artists Repertory Theater ( where she has is commissioned to develop REFUGEE RADIO.

An MFA playwriting alumna of UC-San Diego, Andrea has served on the faculties at Willamette University, The University of Portland, Duke University and UC-San Diego.