Cynthia L. Cooper (Cindy) (she/her/hers) is an award-winning playwright whose work is united by gently stylized dramatization, a blend of serious and comedic influences, and an enduring appreciation of social justice and human rights.
How She Played the Game was produced off Broadway by the Women's Project and by Primary Stages, and has appeared in 100 venues, including Budapest, Helsinki, and Montreal. Silence Not, A Love Story, premiered in Israel. Other produced plays: Strange Light, Sisters of Sisters, Slow Burn, Sentences and Words, Beyond Stone, A Date at Last, Works of Art, Running on Glass, The World At Your Fingertips, Sor Juana, All Databases Are Incomplete, Strange Bedfellows, The Outermost House, Here Lived (Hier Wohnte), The Dwelling Place, Bend the Arc, Heaven Scent, Words of Choice (toured to 20 states), more. New works include Stones of Tiananmen (Vaclav Havel Literary Festival) and I Was A Stranger Too (O'Neill semi-finalist).
A two-time Jerome Fellow, Cindy directed a Women's Playwriting Conference at the Playwrights' Center. Her plays are published in 17 volumes and have been included in many women's, human rights and LGBTQ festivals in addition to theater productions. She is an activist in and out of theater.
Her plays have won awards from Pen and Brush, Malibu Int'l Play Festival, Samuel French Off-Broadway Play Festival, White Bear Arts, Barn Theatre, Quixote Foundation, Nantucket Theater, City of Providence, others. She is also the author of eight books, one of which was filmed as a CBS-TV movie, and works as a journalist. An Affiliated Artist at the Playwrights' Center, she lives in New York City.
A woman scholar and her designer friend, a running buddy, imagine a pop-up museum to honor women from sports history. In a duologue fashion, the relive the stories of six athletes, as well as the challenges and successes that people encounter on any field of endeavor. Stories include: Althea Gibson, Gertrude Ederle, Wilma Rudolph, Gretel Bergmann, Gertrude Ederle, Mamie 'Peanut' Johnson. Ego Actus Theatre, NYC, Off The Page Reading Series; Production: Venus Theatre, Laurel MD, directed by Deborah Randall. Reading: SUNY Delhi, NYSSSA 2018, featuring Stacey Linnartz and Abigail Ramsay, directed by Tasha Gordon-Solmon; Dramatists Guild Foundation Music Hall, NYC, featuring Stacey Linnartz and Krystel Lucas, directed by Tasha Gordon-Solmon; Michael Warren Powell Creative Center, New Circle Theatre Co; SUNY Delhi, New York, NYSSSA 2017, directed by Michelle Bossy, featuring Stacey Linnartz, Krystel Lucas; 24 Hours of Women, The Ivy Company, International Women's Voices Day at Unarthodox, NYC.
"Cynthia Cooper's work is quite extraordinary." "Cooper delves into the lives of these women, finding passionate moments of intensity ... to maximize their impact upon the audience." "Cooper has a remarkably felicitous way of capturing each of these female athletes." "It gets the gears turning in the mind while simultaneously stoking the fires of passion. Women have come so far and yet have so far to come... (The) title could not be more apt." The Theatre Bloom
"Actually a joy." "The engaging script ... pulls out the human story." "Only when we remember ... those who have burst through supposedly insurmountable obstacles will we ... keep moving forward -- through shards of glass, indeed." DC Theater Scene
"The stories are compelling and well-told." "A celebration well worth attending." "A deeply personal look at what drove (these women) to succeed." DC Metro Theatre Arts
"A slam dunk." "Hits the mark." "The spirit of each athlete shines out to the audience." "RUNNING ON GLASS is a grand slam for fans and athletes of all ages." Maryland Theatre Guide
Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, released from re-education camp in 1999, struggles with his conscience and tries to find his footing in a quest for freedom of speech and democracy in China. Spurred by his encounters with Ding Zilin, founder of the Mothers of Tiananmen, and the Lost Souls of 1989, Liu Xiaobo charts a path of peaceful resistance. But, as his wife, poet and artist Liu Xia, discovers, the consequences can be harsh.
Readings: Urban Stages, NYC; HBO Play Reading Series of the TV Academy, NYC. Workshop: Urban Stages, directed by Keira Loughran, NYC. Initiated by the Visual Artists Guild.
Finalist, New Works Festival, Kitchen Dog Theatre; SemiFinalist, PlayPenn; SemiFinalist, Bay Area Playwrights' Festival.
"'Stones of Tiananmen' was so engaging... People in the audience were laughing and crying.” "The audience applauded with excitement." Jing Zhang, Women's Rights in China.
In the uncertain economic times of Germany in the early 1930s, an idealistic young Jewish woman joins with a rebellious Catholic craftsman, to resist the rise of Nazism while deepening their love for humanity and each other. Drawn from the true stories of Gisa Peiperand Paul Konopka, this is a story of courage and love that thrive despite the dangers, telling of the hope and art of speaking out for the highest human values in the most pressing of times.
Production, Center Stage Theater, The Merkaz, Jerusalem, Israel. Directed by Gabriella Willenz. World Premiere. Production, Beit Avi Chai, Jerusalem, Israel. Staged Reading, Wellstone Center, St. Paul,Directed by Carolyn Levy. Sponsored by The Konopka Institute of the University of Minnesota, in celebration of the Life and Legacy of Gisa Konopka; The Anne Frank Center USA, New York, Reading, directed by Joanne Edelmann; Justice Talks Radio; Library, East Stroudsburg, Publisher, Gihon River Press; Hamline University,at the Anne Simley Theatre, St. Paul, MN directed by Carolyn Levy. Geraldine Page Center for the Arts, New York. Finalist, Original Play Contest, Shawnee Playhouse, PA., Julia's Reading Room, NYC; Remember the Women, Center for Jewish History; Reading, Primary Stages, NYC, directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser; More Jewish Women You Should Know, Anne Frank Center USA; Norwalk Public Library, Monroe Public Library, PA; Worthington Players at Shawnee Playhouse, PA; Nov 2010: Staged Reading, Pocono Playhouse, East Stroudburg University, Margaret Ball, dir.; Book Event, E.Stroudsburg Library, PA; U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC. Published, Gihon River Press: Best Historic Drama.
"The play is innovative in a number of ways." "A heady, beautifully written play." "You leave feeling ennobled and elevated."
Theatre Revolution published an interview with me about activism and theatre on its blog series. (It includes some long-ago history from the Playwrights Center, too.)
My play 'Stones of Tiananmen' will be presented at the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation Theater Festival on June 20, 7:30 pm, at the Bohemian Hall in New York City. The play looks at the commitment to change, following the story of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo and the Mothers of Tiananmen. Read more -- https://www.rehearsalfortruth.org/program/stones-of-tiananmen
Excerpts from 'I Was A Stranger Too,' will be performed in a virtual event to honor Holocaust Reembrance Day. Sponsored by Remember the Women Institute, in partnership with the Marlene Meyerson Manhattan JCC and National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Research for play development was supported by a grant from Rimon, of the Minneapolis Jewish Arts Council. Watch, April 26, 2022, 7 pm EST. Open to the public, free with registration. https://mmjccm.org/programs/virtual-women-theater-and-holocaust-three-plays-remember-women
'I Was A Stranger Too' was selected as Finalist for the Jewish Plays Project, and will be part of a program of sharing new plays with theaters around the country.