Shawntai Brown is a Detroit writer, literacy coordinator and teaching artist. Her work centers on empowering communities through experiences that educate, challenge and entertain. As a playwright, she is interested in the dialogue between script, actors, directors and audience, and how that informs and reshapes communities, especially concerning queer people of color. She likes to laugh, and invites audiences to laugh as well. She has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Western Michigan University and a Master of Arts in Literacy Learning from Marygrove College. You can find her poetry in Kaleidoscope, Cactus Heart, and Synaesthesia Magazine. She serves as the School Programs Manager with InsideOut Literary Arts. She is a board member and playwright with Extra Mile Playwrights Theatre. She was a participating playwright in Harlem9 48 Hours In Detroit (2019) and Obsidian Theatre Festival (2022). She has taught writing workshops and participated on panels across Michigan, including most recently for the Michigan Council for Teachers of English (2019), Michigan Youth Arts Festival (2021) and Black Theater Network Conference (2022). She is a 2020 Krege Live Arts Fellow.
She is the founder and writer of eLLe, an episodic play series following 6 lesbian, bi and queer women. eLLe was created in 2010 and has been in production since 2011.
“My work isn’t to fill in the gaps, it is made to create new spaces. My characters are not the best friend or brief anecdotes in a larger story. Queer characters of color are the center. Honoring diversity within queer characters (gender presentation, relationship structures, age, race, SES and career) has provided lgbtq+ actors more opportunities to play characters they intersect with, and provided an entry point for conversations and community building.”
Over the decade, Brown has birthed more than 16 plays centering queer people of color.
For playwriting and theatre inquiries, email email@example.com