Award-winning playwright LYDIA STRYK was born in DeKalb, Illinois, the birthplace of barbed wire and flying ears of corn. She grew up between DeKalb and London, England, and as a child also lived in Japan where she studied Kabuki and performed on the stage, and in Iran. After high school, she trained at the Drama Centre, London, and pursued an acting career in New York for exactly one year before returning to school to study history, education, and later, journalism. She has a BA in History from Hunter College, an MA in Journalism from NYU, and a Ph.D. in Theatre from the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York. Her dissertation, “Acting Hysteria: An Analysis of the Actress and her Part,” was an attempt to understand why her own short-lived experience acting the woman’s part on stage felt pathological. While interning at the weekly journal, The Nation, she wrote her first play, coming full circle back to the theatre, but this time as a writer—inspired by the feminist idea circulating at the time that women might have other stories to tell and other ways of telling them.
Lydia is the author of over a dozen full-length plays and a few short ones, including Monte Carlo, The House of Lily, The Glamour House, American Tet, An Accident, and Lady Lay which have been produced across the United States at theatres including Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Victory Gardens, The Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Magic Theatre, and 7 Stages and also in Germany and Canada. Scenes and monologues have been anthologized in collections by Heinemann, Applause Books, and Smith and Kraus. Her play, American Tet, appears in “Acts of War: Iraq and Afghanistan in Seven Plays” from Northwestern University Press. The End of Civilization as we Know It appears in the anthology, “Here Come the Brides!” from Seal Press. Individual plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing and Dramatists Play Service and translated into German by Per Lauke Verlag, Hamburg.
She is the recipient of a Berrilla Kerr Playwright Award, a Rella Lossy Playwriting Award, and an After Dark Award. Actors have received nominations and awards for their work in her plays, most recently, the 2019 NAACP Theatre Award, for which she was also nominated for the best playwright.
You can learn more about Lydia and her writing on her website.