Derek was an inaugural member of the Chicago Dramatists Tutterow Fellowship program, developing Real Talk with Auntie B, a satire on American ambition in the age of social media. His recent residency at The National Black Theatre (NYC) incubated Serious Adverse Effects, his futuristic play on technologies of healing.
Derek has written five musicals for The Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Unlimited division. Bring the Beat Back is his queer, black, sci-fi, music-theatre passion project, recently a featured presentation in the Polyphone Music Festival (Philadelphia), followed by a concert production run with Otherworld Theatre Company. Organizations
that have presented his work include The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Prop Thtr, Hi-ARTS, and The Drama League. Derek is a founding playwright with The Fire This Time Festival and an inaugural playwright in the 48 Hours in Harlem Festival, two Obie-winning programs in NYC. Beyond theater, Derek has co-created digital programming for numerous platforms, such as HIVE, a sci-fi anthology series in development with OTV | Open Television.
His work has been supported by grants, residencies and prizes from the Jerome Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, the Propeller Fund, Djerassi, Leonardo, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the United States Embassy in the United Kingdom. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Morehouse College and a Master of Arts in Humanities from New York University. He is originally from Pickerington, Ohio and splits his time between Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.