Playwright & Actress
Heather Raffo is an award-winning playwright and actress whose work has taken her from the Kennedy Center to the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Qatar, and from the State Department to classrooms across the country and across the world. An American with Iraqi roots, Raffo’s plays have been hailed by The New Yorker as “an example of how art can remake the world”. She is the author and performer of NOURA (Weissberger and Helen Hayes awards) which premiered in D.C. before moving to Abu Dhabi, Cairo, NYC and theaters across the nation, and 9 Parts of Desire (Lucielle Lortel award, Blackburn commendation, Helen Hayes, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nomination) which ran Off Broadway for nine months and has played across the U.S. and internationally for over a decade. 9 Parts of Desire was the first play in the English language to center an Iraqi protagonist and its commercial success helped birth a new genre of Middle Eastern American theater. Raffo’s libretto for the opera FALLUJAH, the first opera about the Iraq war, was part of Kennedy Center’s International Theater Festival, received its world premiere at Long Beach Opera and opened at NYC Opera in 2016 accompanied by a documentary titled Fallujah: Art, Healing and PTSD. Her new anthology, The Things That Can’t Be Said, was published in 2021. It brings together Raffo’s groundbreaking contribution to the rarely examined traumas shaping cultural and national identity for both Americans and Iraqis since the events of 9/11.
In 2021, Art2Action co-commissioned Heather Raffo's Migration Play Cycle with the Carver Community Cultural Center, the Arab American National Museum, and the National Performance Network (NPN).