Thelma de Castro


Thelma Virata de Castro is a Filipinx dramatist whose plays explore identity and belonging. The TAG Project was produced by Playwrights Project in August 2021 with support from an Artist's Grant from the William Male Foundation and a Rising Arts Leaders Virgil Yalong Quick Grant. Hand Under Hand and The Fire in Me were produced at Southwestern College October 2021 in an evening entitled Kasama. Her interview-based work with Asian Story Theater (AST) investigates history and race within specific communities, with subjects ranging from the incarceration of Japanese Americans to contemporary mixed racial identity. In 2017 she acted as a playwright and Community Liaison for AST’s California Humanities project Halo-halo, which centered San Diego’s Filipinx stories. Additional California Humanities projects include The Fire in Me (Access, Inc., 2019) and Saving Stories (New Village Arts, 2021). With AST she won The San Diego Foundation’s 2018-2019 Creative Catalyst Fellowship for The Fire in Me, which examined domestic violence in San Diego’s Filipinx community. Access Inc. awarded her the Esperanza Award for extraordinary commitment to eradicating domestic violence in San Diego County. AARP sponsored readings of Hand Under Hand, a musical focused on Asian American caregivers. Her work was featured in The Old Globe Powers New Voices Festival (2020, 2021). Thelma received two Hedgebrook residencies (1999, 2016) and attended the A Room of Her Own Foundation retreat (2015). She founded San Diego Playwrights (2013) and serves the Dramatists Guild on the Regional Affairs Committee and as San Diego Co-Ambassador. She’s spoken to university and community college classes, and on panels at the Dramatists Guild conference (2015), Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference (2016), and others. She’s been a contest judge for Playwrights Project and the San Diego Writing Festival’s KidsWrite! writing contest. She’s been a dramaturge (San Diego Rep, Playwrights Project) and teaching artist (Playwrights Project) and is on the Board of Directors for San Diego Writers, Ink. She attended the Kennedy Center Summer 2021 Playwriting Intensive. The San Diego Union-Tribune included her in its list of Phenomenal San Diego Women: Creators and Performers (2020).