Leah Halper has worked as a journalist, activist, house-cleaner, translator, interpreter, file clerk, mediator, and freelance writer. She’s picked coffee in Nicaragua, studied disarmament at the UN, jogged in Romania, and interviewed cannery workers in Gilroy. Her literary non-fiction has been published in the Northwest Review, Trivia, Bad Subjects, and elsewhere. She teaches history and
mediation at Gavilan College in Gilroy. She’s a member of writers pool for SF PlayGround at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre (eight seasons), Pear Avenue Theatre Writers Guild (eight seasons), Dramatists Guild, Theatre Bay Area, and Playwrights Center San Francisco. She’s been the grateful recipient of two Arts Council Silicon Valley grants: in 2001, a Playwriting Fellowship, and in 2007, a grant administered through Calaveras Repertory Theatre to produce Scene Nights in the South Bay for Emerging Playwrights. Leah’s been a Heideman Award finalist, and participated by invitation in the Theatre for Higher Education play development workshop in 2012. Her short plays have been performed from Seattle to LA.
What did the Fellowship or Laureate mean to you at the time you received it?
Because I had just started writing plays, it felt like enormous validating from the universe that my plays were worthy!
What do you do now? Has your art evolved or changed?
I am still a playwright, now a produced playwright, and I've written a number of intense historical plays, both full-length and short. I've also experimented with musicals, comedies, absurdity, and one children's play, for good measure, all to interesting and fruitful effect. To learn more about my works, go to: http://www.garlic.com/~lhalper/index.html
What is one piece of advice you would give to an emerging artist?
Keep trying new things.
Briefly, how would you describe the state of the arts locally, as well as national and beyond?
Neglected, alive, isolated.