Nia Ostrow Witherspoon is a multidisciplinary artist investigating the metaphysics of black liberation, desire, and diaspora. Working primarily in the mediums of theatre/performance, vocal and sound composition, and creative scholarship, Witherspoon’s work has traveled both nationally and internationally to venues ranging from theatres and universities to activist organizations and non-profits. Described as “especially fascinating” by Backstage Magazine, Witherspoon has been the recipient of multiple awards and residencies, including: New York Theatre Workshop’s 2050 Fellowship, BRIC’s Premiere Residency, Astraea Foundation’s Lesbian Writer Award and Global Arts Fund Grant, Downtown Theatre Festival’s “Audience Award,” a Wurlitzer Foundation residency, Lambda Literary’s Emerging Playwriting Fellowship, a CASH Grant from Theatre Bay Area, and a Mellon Dissertation Fellowship. Her staged works have been featured at BRIC, HERE, National Black Theatre, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, 651 Arts, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Dixon Place, Movement Research, and the Painted Bride (Philadelphia), among various venues in the Bay Area, including Theatre Artaud, Theatre of Yugen, The Lab, The Garage, La Peña, and Eastside Arts Alliance. As a performer, Witherspoon is co-founder of ceremonial music collective SoliRose, a world-premiere cast member (and in the touring company of) Sharon Bridgforth’s River See (Links Hall), and has been a featured vocalist in the work of Cherríe Moraga in La Semilla Caminante/The Traveling Seed (Intersection for the Arts). Witherspoon’s writing is published in an array of journals and anthologies including Imagined Theatres: Writing for a Theoretical Stage (Routledge); Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Art, Thought, and Culture; Women, Collective Creation, and Devised Performance (Palgrave); The Journal of Popular Culture; EMERGE: 2015 Lambda Fellows Anthology; and Imaniman: Poets Reflecting on Gloria Anzaldúa and Transgressive Borders (Aunt Lute). She is currently at work on collection of essays, tentatively titled Letters to the Nation, and a play cycle, The Dark Girl Chronicles, which explores the criminalization of black cis- and trans- women via African diaspora sacred stories.
Witherspoon holds a B.A. in American Studies from Smith College, and a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies from Stanford University.