2020 Prowda Award Winner
Amy Wheeler is a playwright, theatre artist, teacher, and arts nonprofit leader. She led Hedgebrook, based on Whidbey Island and in Seattle, for 16 years—most recently as Executive Director (2006-2019), and previously, as Board President (2003-2006). Under Wheeler’s leadership, the renowned Pacific Northwest nonprofit organization grew from a writers-in-residence program supporting 60-80 women writers a year and a Playwrights Festival, to a global community of several thousand influential alumnae who are authoring change in the literary, theatre, film and music worlds, as well as every sphere of public discourse through their TEDTalks, OpEds, blogs, podcasts, webinars, on Broadway, in concert halls, and stadiums, and even in Congress. Hedgebrook’s commitment to equity is embodied in the more than the 80% of alumnae who identify as women of color, LGBTQ+, or gender non-conforming.
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Wheeler holds a B.G.S from the University of Kansas, an M.F.A from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts. She’s taught playwriting at the University of Iowa, Cornish College of the Arts, Freehold Studio Theatre Lab, Hugo House, and in ACT Theatre’s Young Playwrights Program. As a playwright, Wheeler is an alum of Hedgebrook and Yaddo. Her plays have been produced and developed nationally, including at The Guggenheim Museum and The Greenwich Street Theatre in New York, Seattle’s Theatre22, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Portland Center Stage’s JAW West Festival and Stark Raving Theatre. Two of her plays are published in Rain City Project’s Manifesto Anthologies.