*Head shot taken by Azumi Ndababa.
Hometown and/or Current City: Scotch Plains, NJ
Keywords: writer, playwright, screenwriter, poet, essayist
Lori is a writer, teaching artist and producer, committed to using the power of the written word to instigate the reformation of social justice; especially for the marginalized and disenfranchised members of underserved communities. Most recently, she is focusing on writing for performance. Her new collection of solo plays entitled NOTHING TO SEE HERE, is in development with the support of the Creative Capital Blended Learning Professional Development Program and Gallery Aferro, in Newark, NJ.
Lori’s latest play, The Sisters Grey, co-written with Gab Cody, recently received a complete page to stage development and production through the August Wilson Center for African American Culture’s “New Theatre Initiative.” An excerpt from The Sisters Grey was also featured in Luna Stage’s first annual short play festival. Lori has served as a faculty member of Words and Music, sponsored by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society. During the 2010 Words and Music Festival, she launched the panel discussion about the relationship between race and literature by presenting a reading of her essay, Making War to Create Love, which placed as a finalist in the William Wisdom creative writing competition. Lori was awarded admission to the inaugural Yale Writers’ Conference and upon conclusion of the conference, was described as a “valued participant.” She currently serves as an advisor to the conference chair and plays an integral role in the expansion of the conference’s programming.
Throughout her teaching career she has directed students, most notably, in a production of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor for which she and her students were awarded “Best Overall Performance” at the New Jersey Folger Shakespeare Festival. Lori is a theater adjudicator and workshop instructor for the New Jersey, Somerset County Teen Arts Festival. As a ten-year teaching veteran, her experiences as an award-winning educator fuel her dedication to powerful storytelling. In that vein, Lori Roper created Atticus Theater Workshop, a writing lab for aspiring playwrights. Her work as a playwright, essayist and poet casts illumination upon complex subjects such as education, race, gender, religion and class. She is a recipient of the prestigious ING Unsung Heroes Award for Innovation and Excellence in Education. Lori is a graduate of The College of William and Mary where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. She obtained her MA in English Education from New York University from which she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She has served as the Writer-In-Residence at the Ethical Cultural Society of Essex County, NJ.
In addition to attending the Yale Writers Conference, Tennessee Williams Literary Festival and The Southampton Writers Conference, Lori spent the summer of 2016 as a resident at Vermont Studio Center and will spend time developing new work at the Kenyon Playwriting Conference during the summer of 2017. She is also an avid poet who regularly holds workshops with both school children and adults. She is currently developing her new play, HAWKS TAVERN, an historical play set during the Newark Riots of ‘67.