Danai Gurira

One on One with Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira is a playwright, actor and Executive Artistic Director & Co-Founder of Almasiarts.

The accomplished playwright just premiered an off-Broadway play “Eclipsed” that follows five women in Liberia – four wives of a warlord and a woman who is a peace negotiator. Danai Gurira The Walking Dead star traveled to the previously war-torn African nation in 2007 to conduct research for the play. Co-Star in the play is Lupita Nyong’o Oscar award-winning actor of “12 years a slave” gives voice to women ranging from the wives of warlords to activists in the play.

Eclipsed received premiere productions at the Wooly Mammoth, Center Theater Group and Yale Repertory Theater and won Best New play at the 2010 Helen Hayes Awards and Best Playwright at the NAACP Theater Awards. She co-created and performed in the award-winning “In the Continuum”.

Danai won a 2006 Obie Award, the 2006 Outer Critics John Gassner Award, and the 2004 Global Tolerance’ Award, in addition to being honored by the Theatre Hall of Fame. In 2007, she received a Helen Hayes Award for Best Lead Actress at Woolly Mammoth. Danai starred in the acclaimed film “The Visitor” and on Broadway in “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”. She is also featured in films “3 Backyards” (Sundance 2010), “My Soul to Keep” (Wes Craven 2010) and “Restless City” (Sundance 2011) and “Ma George”. She has appeared on TV shows “Law and Order”, “Life on Mars”, “Lie to Me”, and “Treme”. Danai appeared as Isabella in “Measure for Measure” ( Equity’s 2011 Callaway Award). She has taught playwriting and acting in Liberia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Her newest play, “The Convert” appeared at the McCarter, Goodman and Center Theater Group Theaters. This play is the first part of a trilogy on Zimbabwe’s coming of age from a feminine perspective for which she received the prestigious NEA New Play development grant. She was the 2011-12 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.

Danai is a commissioned playwright with Yale Rep. In 2012 she was awarded the prestigious Whiting Award. She received her MFA in Acting from Tisch, NYU. Currently, she stars as “Michonne” in the AMC hit series “The Walking Dead”. Danai was born in the U.S. to Zimbabwean parents and raised in Zimbabwe where she attended the Dominican Convent High school and was a member of Rep Teens. She divides her time between New York and Los Angeles.