Tanya Barfield’s play Bright Half Life has been seen at multiple theaters around the country since premiering at WP Theater Off-Broadway; it also received a Lambda Literary Award. Her play The Call premiered as a co-production between Playwrights Horizons and Primary Stages. It was the first play that Tanya wrote after an absence from theater in which she took time off to raise two children.
In 2016, the Profile Theatre devoted its entire season to Barfield’s work. Previously, Tanya's play, Blue Door, was produced by Playwrights Horizons, South Coast Repertory, Seattle Repertory and Berkeley Repertory.
Her play Of Equal Measure was performed at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles and nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Other work includes: Chat (New Dramatists’ Playtime Festival), and The Quick (New York Stage & Film). Short plays include: Medallion (co-writer, Women’s Project/Antigone Project), Foul Play (Royal Court Theatre, Cultural Center of Brazil), The Wolves and Wanting North (Guthrie Theatre Lab, named best 10-minute play of the year), and Feast (co-writer), which opened in London as a co-production between the Young Vic and Royal Court.
The recipient of a Lilly Award and the first inaugural Lilly Award Commission, a Helen Merrill Award, Honorable Mention for the Kesselring Prize for Drama, and a Lark Play Development/NYSCA grant. Barfield has twice been a finalist for the Princess Grace Award. She participated in the Lark Play Development Center’s delegation of artists to Romania and was part of the PBS documentary Legacy: Being Black in America, which was hosted by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Her residencies include the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, the Ucross Foundation, New York Stage and Film, the Royal Court International Residency and Seattle Rep’s Women Playwrights Festival at Hedgebrook. She’s also an alumna of New Dramatists and the Dramatist Guild Council.
Before becoming a playwright, Tanya appeared in her solo show Without Skin or Breathlessness at the Public Theater’s New Work Now festival, Performance Space 122, Dance Theatre Workshop, and the Whitney Museum at Phillip Morris. As a solo performer, she received funding and recognition from the New York Foundation of the Arts and the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art. In addition, she was part of a performance collective, creating the devised multimedia theater pieces How to Get By and Be Easily Understood and Cakewalk, which ran at P.S. 122 and the Red Eye Theater in Minneapolis.
Barfield also writes for television (HBO, FX, Showtime) and shares a Writers Guild of America Award for her work on season four of FX’s The Americans. A proud alumna of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program, Tanya served as the Juilliard Drama Division’s literary manager from 2009 until 2014.