Hailing from Houston and Chicago, Donna Latham (she/her) is an award-winning feminist playwright whose work champions women ignored in history. Her characters seize agency by not caring what anyone thinks of them. Donna grew up in a haunted house in the wilds of Chicagoland and has been fascinated with ghosts and the veil between life and death forever.
“Writing is a labor of love and also an act of defiance, a way to light a candle in a gale wind.”
Plays with teeth and heart.
About Donna Latham
About The Plays
Donna Latham (she/her) is a feminist playwright via Chicago and Houston. A proud member of the Dramatists Guild and Honor Roll! Playwrights, she explores the present through forgotten corners of the past. As a first-generation college grad, she's particularly intrigued with themes of classism.
Donna's plays have been produced coast to coast and across the pond. AND WE WILL SHARE THE SKY was a finalist for the Kennedy Center’s David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award and is the recipient of the National Theatre for Young Audiences Playwriting Award from the University of Central Missouri. MOST WRETCHED DEATHBED FEVER DREAMS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE received the Design Challenge Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
Her plays are published with YouthPLAYS, Next Stage Press, and Smith Scripts and anthologized in Best American Short Plays 2016-2017, Best American Short Plays 2014-2015, 2016’s Best Ten-Minute Plays, and She Persisted: New Plays By Women Over 40, 2021,Laughter Is The Best Medicine: Short Plays From The Days of the Coronavirus, Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2022, and WE/US: Monologues For Gender Minority Actors 2023.
Visit New Play Exchange to explore Donna's work.
YELLA JACK Southern Gothic Drama
Racism. Misogyny. Classism. Religion vs. science. With murder and mayhem. When most white folks in Memphis up sticks and flee after yellow fever, a “stranger’s disease,” ravages the city, determined residents hunker down to stay alive. An unlikely band of women convert a brothel into a hospital for the indigent and create a found family forged of love and rage.
They nurse the sick, keep the city afloat, embrace new opportunities—and scheme revenge. Jack, a serial-killing embodiment of contagion, collects trophies from victims—earbobs, rings, pearls, and a precious symbol of humanity. When Sister Gregory fails to return after nursing fever folk in Shanty Town, the found family fears the worst. All pray for frost. As ever.
THE HAUNTED WIDOW LINCOLN Historical Drama
In 1875, ten years after the assassination of her husband, Mary Todd Lincoln’s increasingly bizarre public behavior rankles her sole surviving son Robert. In Chicago, he orchestrates an insanity hearing in which Mary is not permitted to speak. Pronounced insane by a “Sea of Men,” Mrs. Lincoln receives a court-ordered commitment to Bellevue Place, a posh, private sanitarium in Illinois’ Fox River Valley. There, Mary hoards trunks of her possessions and vials of poison. She relies on the friendship of cherished friend Lizzie Keckley, a former slave and White House dressmaker, and enlists the aid of Rosalie, a maid at Bellevue Place, to fill prescriptions for laudanum and camphor. Mary wages a great battle with John Wilkes Booth, Secretary of War Stanton, and other ghosts of the past, while endlessly mourning the death of her husband and sons. Communing with the spirit world through the sham medium Madame Marvalosa and budding conjure lady Zuzu, Mary is determined to end her suffering—and her life.
SUFFER A WITCH Historical Drama
Independent, tart-tongued, and unorthodox, herbalist-healer Grace sticks out like a witch’s teat in a God-fearing community. She stands accused of conjuring a late-term miscarriage, bewitching crops, and shapeshifting. When the court orders a trail by water, Grace is stripped and crossbound in a burlap sack and ducked into the waters of Lynnhaven River. Will she sink or swim?
Published by Next Stage Press: next-stage-press.myshopify.com/collections/all/donna-latham
A MIDNIGHT CLEAR: THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914 Historical Drama
Are people capable of peace? It is 1914, during the early months of WWI. Actions swings between No Man’s Land and the home front. Percy, promised he would be home for Christmas, wrestles with his religious beliefs and moral compass in the face of war’s new rules. With her loved ones entrenched in a war of attrition in No Man’s Land, Eugenie is entrenched in London’s home front. She defies Grandmama to take a nursing position in the hospital, determined to do her bit to help the war effort, hone her skills in medicine, and maintain hope. When the historic Christmas Truce of 1914 sweeps across the Western Front, peace is waged from the trenches up.
Published by Smith Scripts UK
MOST WRETCHED DEATHBED FEVER DREAMS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE Horror
Synopsis:After a violent squall ushers in a sweltering heat wave, Annabelle stumbles upon a delirious man in the gutter. He is unable to recall his name, Edgar Allan Poe, or how he arrived in his hallucinatory state. Annabelle drags him to her lover Lucretia’s Memento Mori Shoppe, where Lucretia creates photographs of the dead—and which Annabelle haunts. With his acuteness of the senses, Poe is aware of Annabelle, although Lucretia is not. Lucretia vows to provide the mysterious stranger a safe place to peacefully pass from the earthly realm. She promises to create a proper post-mortem mourning daguerreotype in his memory, although Poe is utterly alone in the world. But first Lucretia must photograph putrefying bodies before the heat has their way with them, as Death threatens to take Poe to the bowels of hell. Ghosts of his past combine with characters and images from his literary works to torment Poe in his terror of premature burial. Can Poe make peace with his untimely demise and find solace in death? And what solace can he offer grieving Lucretia?
BEST BEWARE MY STING Comedy
Synopsis: A bawdy mash-up of classical and contemporary, unabashedly anachronistic, with a Commedia dell'Arte vibe. Laughter ensues when taming shrews! But what of the troublesome tropes Shakespeare mansplained? Alpha Petruchio is determined to keep his good lady wife Kate dicknotized and submissive. His servant Grumio, who moonlights as a sales rep for Fantasia Tickle Toys, cheers him on. Kate is a former ferocious shrew who caught feelings for Petruchio. She’s very nearly tamed, well on her way to a new identity as a sweet and docile housewife. It’s time to renounce shrewish ways—until O’Felia from the block seizes the moment. Who the hell wants to be tamed? What’s up with this gaslighting? It’s more than a disruption of the intestinal humors….
SCREWING AROUND WITH SHAKESPEARE Comedy
Synopsis: This one’s for the Groundlings! Gaslighting. Manspreading. Smashing the patriarchy. One playwright mansplained it all: William Shakespeare. Sharpen your quills for a bawdy bit of Bard-hopping! With a mash-up of classical, contemporary, and canonical chaos, monologues, sketches, songs, and playlettes poke ye bejeebers out of the esteemed works of Willy Shakes.
AND WE WILL SHARE THE SKY TYA Folk Tale
Synopsis: Long, long ago, when the world is fresh and new, Brother Sun and Sister Moon live on land. They are different as, well, as day and night. Gadabout Sun shines a dazzling personality over endless friends. Contemplative Moon finds inspiration within. The two struggle with their differences and try to find their places in the world. Inspired by traditional tales of Nigeria and Senegal, including “How the Sun and Moon Came to Be” and “How the Sun and Moon Came to Live in the Sky”
Kennedy Center Finalist, David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award and National Theatre for Young Audiences Playwriting Award
Published by YouthPLAYS; Read an excerpt: www.youthplays.com/play_details.php?play_id=350