James Ijames on the validation of finding a home in Philadelphia | Theatre Philadelphia
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James Ijames on the validation of finding a home in Philadelphia

Feb 10, 2017

As we get ready to celebrate over two decades of the Haas Award at our Haas Happy Hour on February 27, we’re sharing reflections from past recipients in this series.

James Ijames -- playwright, performer, and director -- moved to Philly in 2003 to start graduate school, and received the Haas Award in 2011.

James describes receiving the Haas Award as “Surreal. My classmate from grad school, Kunal Nayyar, (who is far more famous than me) was sitting beside me and had to physically push me out of my seat. I simply could not believe it.  I think I had already decided that Philadelphia was home. The award was more validation of the decision. It made me feel like I had a home here.”

What sets Philly apart from other cities? “We have a community of theatre artist that truly support and love each other. When someone is sick, when someone is in need the community rallies around them. I don't see that as much in other communities. Also...the diversity of kinds of theatre you can be in is immense.”

As for who has supported James as an artist: “Terry Nolen, Blanka Zizka, David Bradley, Nora Quinn, Thom Weaver, Kevin Glaccum. I'm sure their are more…” And who is inspiring James today? “Brett Robinson. Obsessed with her. Taysha Canales and Jaylene Clark Owens are actresses that I write for on a regular basis.”

James is a proud board member of Theatre Philadelphia. Join  the celebration of the artists and supporters that comprise our community at the Haas Happy Hour on February 27.

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