Hearing playwright (with Deaf playwright Lewis Merkin) of the play “Language of One.”
Writer, director and filmmaker Drew Emery has created a significant body of community-centered work while living in Seattle for the past 17 years. After receiving his MFA in playwriting from the University of Virginia and winning the Virginia Playwriting Prize and the Howard Scammon Drama Prize, Drew moved to Seattle and began working with Alice B. Theatre, a gay & lesbian theatre for all people.
In addition to co-directing the nation’s first national lesbian and gay theatre conference, Drew collaborated with various artists to create Hidden History: True Stories from Seattle’s Lesbian & Gay Elders and Language of One, the personal odyssey of a deaf gay man.
Language of One went on to a successful Equity showcase production at New York Deaf Theatre, which Drew directed, and a run at the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival, produced by Australian Theatre of the Deaf. Other theatrical work includes Solo for Four, a short performance poem for queer youth and contributions to Voices of Christmas at the late great Group Theatre. In 2004, Drew collaborated with Eric Lane Barnes on the book for The Stops, a new musical that premiered in Seattle at The Empty Space Theatre and produced by DramaQueen.
After receiving a Seattle Arts Commission Seattle Artists Award in 1998, Drew broadened his artistic work to include fiction and poetry. But it is his foundation in oral history storytelling that has led him on a path of documentary filmmaking.
In 2000, Drew received a City of Seattle ArtsUp community collaboration grant to partner with the Seattle LGBT Community Center and create The Bridge, a video documentary built around a virtual dialogue between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elders and queer youth. The culmination of a two-year process that involved significant community outreach, workshops and, ultimately, 45 one-on-one on-camera interviews, The Bridge was made with a single mini-DV camera and a laptop. Premiering in November 2002 at The Broadway Performance Hall, The Bridge was created to address a generational divide within the LGBT communities but ultimately became a film about growing up and growing old. By unleashing the power of first-hand stories from everyday storytellers, this project became a springboard for the creation of the True Stories Project and the development of Inlaws & Outlaws.
After Inlaws & Outlaws premiered to sold-out houses at the Seattle International Film Festival, Drew was chosen as a runner-up for Best Director. The film has since gone on to win the Grand Jury Award at the deadCENTER Film Festival, Best Local Film at the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival and Best of Fest at the Palm Springs Film Festival.