Jiréh Breon Holder- Co-Founder
Jiréh Breon Holder is currently the Playwriting Fellow of the Department of Theater and Creative Writing at Emory Universtiy. He is an Atlanta area playwright, director, and dramaturg. His sharp and often political plays frequently include wild visual metaphors and address the magic of everyday life in the South. In 2016, he received his MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama and co-founded Pyramid Theatre Company in Des Moines, Iowa. From 2012-13, he served as the Kenny Leon Fellow at the Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre. He graduated cum laude from Morehouse College (B.A. Theatre) where he served as the artistic director of Spelman College Playwrights’ Workshop and directed several productions. His plays have received productions at the Alliance Theatre, the Yale School of Drama and Yale Cabaret. He has also received readings at the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Roundabout Theatre, the Kennedy Center, and the Old Globe Theatre. As a theater artist with a strong political impulse, many of his plays and projects address the prison industrial complex, human rights, and agricultural/environmental sustainability. He is a firm believer that art changes lives, and each project he is involved with seeks to touch people one audience at a time. Visit his website at: www.jirehbreonholder.com
Meet Jiréh (Interview conducted December 2015) :
Where were you born: Memphis, TN
Favorite Play/Musical: This is a terribly difficult question to answer because there are so many plays out there. Right now, it’s a tie between born bad by debbie tucker green and The Goat, or Who is Sylvia by Edward Albee. The Goat is just an impressive subversion of the kitchen sink drama, but born bad is a explosive feat of dramaturgical gymnastics focused on Black women and situated in a dramatic context that is beyond relevant.
First Play/Musical: Man of La Mancha. It changed my life, truly. “Dream the Impossible Dream” is still one of my favorite songs…the Luther Vandross version, I mean.
Show you hope Pyramid does one day: We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 by Jackie Sibblies Drury. My first time seeing this play, no one clapped. No one even moved. Audience members of all ethnicities were in tears. My best friend had to dismiss herself, and I was physically shaking. No other piece of theater has ever done that to me. I hope to bring that same earth shaking, paradigm shifting, and community transforming experience to Des Moines, IA.
Current non-Pyramid related Project: I’m working on a play about a Freedom Rider in the 1960s. It’s a tribute to my mother and her mother...and also a love letter to the Civil Rights Movement…and a standing ovation to the current #blacklivesmatter Movement. It’s called Too Heavy for Your Pocket.
What does Pyramid mean to you: Pyramid Theatre Company means community. It means in just one city in just one state in just one country…things will change because a small group of people want their community to experience stories from marginalized voices. And really, that’s the only way this world will heal. One shared experience at a time.