Playwright / President & CEO
Linda Parris-Bailey creates story-based plays with music focusing on themes of transformation and empowerment. She is President and CEO of Parris-Bailey Arts, Inc., and former Executive/Artistic Director of The Carpetbag Theatre, Inc of Knoxville, TN. During her fifty year career as a playwright, she has written and performed numerous works. Linda is a 2019 Creative Capital Awardee, and recipient of a 2015 Doris Duke Artists Award in Theater. Her award-winning works include, Speed Killed My Cousin and Between A Ballad and A Blues, her ode to Appalachian renaissance man Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong. Her signature work Dark Cowgirls and Prairie Queens continues to be performed. Linda is a founding member of Alternate ROOTS and a Senior Advisor to the Women Playwrights International Conference. Her works have been published in Alternate ROOTS: Plays from the Southern Theater, Ensemble Works, and other anthologies of contemporary plays. She recently completed the new work Flushing, an adult puppet piece, in collaboration with Eric Bass and Ines Zeller-Bass of Sandglass Theater, directed by Kathie DeNobriga. The piece centers on generational transitions in leadership, race, and culture. Her latest solo work, Yankee Bajan, premiered in 2023. The original play which focuses on an African American family's response to the racism and violence that continues to plague America and their journey to repatriate to their ancestral home in Barbados, touring in the 2023-24 season.
Yankee Bajan is a play with music that explores the experience of the American expatriate returning to the land of his/her family origins. The primary question is: How can one return home to a place that has never been home and what cultural and colonial baggage does one bring to that experience? It also asks what forces are currently in place in the United States that would drive a family to consider the expatriate experience? After four years of the “Trump Experience,” what has become of America? What have we lost and what are we seeking?
Todd London on Flushing …
"With story and puppetry, these two theater masters reach deep—into childhood, into craft, into the accrued wisdom of their years. This is theater as revelation, as generosity. It’s a pas de deux of parallel lives, started at neighboring subway stops and lived at a great distance, before returning to a place of shared learning and an exquisite, creative uncertainty. Flushing is a beautiful piece of theater, stirring and deeply humane."