Cover art of The Dramatist Craft and Career Issue: elongated pens overlapping to create multiple pathways
Native and Indigenous Structure and Dramaturgy
a photo collage of Carolyn Dunn, Zach Running Coyote, Laura Shamas, and DeLanna Studi
Carolyn Dunn, Zach Running Coyote, Laura Shamas, and DeLanna Studi

Rhiana Yazzie: At New Native Theatre, our last play was The Rez Sisters [by Thompson Highway], which is a really great example of a play that uses western structure as well as Native dramaturgy and structure. It’s got a couple of things that [show] the differences between Native structure and western. For instance, The Rez Sisters doesn’t have one hero, but seven main characters. [And] the major dramatic question is, will they get to the world’s largest bingo or not? Native stories often have complications rather than conflict.

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Zach Running Coyote

(He/Him) is a Mohkinstsis (Calgary) based, mixed Mi’gmaq, playwright, actor, musician, screenwriter, shapeshifter and story scavenger. He is a graduate of the four-year acting program at Rosebud School of the Arts, and the former artist in residence at Making Treaty 7.

Carolyn M. Dunn, PhD.
Carolyn M. Dunn, PhD.

’s plays The Frybread Queen, Ghost Dance, and Soledad have been developed and staged at Native Voices at the Autry, and her current work in progress is the pow wow comedy entitled Chasing Tailfeathers, commissioned by Oklahoma Indigenous Theatre Company. Dr. Dunn is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Actor’s Equity.

Laura Shamas
Laura Shamas'

short play, Four Women In Red, about missing and murdered Indigenous Women, is part of the annual Native Voices at the Autry Short Play Festival, November 14-15, 2020. Her short play Seeds won the Von Marie Atchley Award for Excellence in Playwriting at the 2017 festival.

DeLanna Studi 
DeLanna Studi 

(Cherokee) Her credits include Edge of AmericaShameless, Goliath, the Broadway tour of August: Osage County, Informed Consent, Gloria: A Life, and her play And So We Walked. She chairs SAG-AFTRA’s National Native Americans Committee and is the Artistic Director of Native Voices at the Autry.

Rhiana Yazzie
Rhiana Yazzie

is a Steinberg award winning playwright, a director, a filmmaker, and artistic director of New Native Theatre (Mpls/St. Paul). A citizen of the Navajo Nation, she’s been a Playwrights’ Center fellow multiple times (McKnight 2016/17 and Jerome 2006 & 2010). Her newest play is Nancy, a Native bio-perspective on Nancy Reagan, a sequel to Queen Cleopatre And Princess Pocahontas, a play commissioned by the OSF and the Public Theater for the American Revolutions cycle.