Lori Roper

Lori is a writer, teaching artist and producer, committed to writing which insists upon addressing issues of social justice; especially for the marginalized and disenfranchised. The intention of her story-telling, is devoted to the craft of performance. Her new collection of solo plays entitled Nothing to See Here, is in development with the support of Gallery Aferro, in Newark, NJ. Lori’s solo play Talk White, a work from the collection Nothing to See Here, was recently selected  by the RestorationART and Billie Holiday Theatre as a part of their project, 50 in 50:  Writing Ourselves into Existence, collection of solo plays written by women of color. Lori’s latest play, Hawks Tavern co-written with Rick Sordelet, is an historical play set during the Newark Riots of 67’. Hawks Tavern, has received developmental opportunities by Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT as well as The Kenyon Playwrights Conference in Gambier, OH. Lori is writing the book and lyrics for Elmora, a musical set in an immigrant-rich neighborhood ensnared in the deportation crisis.  Elmora, which she is creating with composer Peter Ncanywa, is receiving developmental support from The United Church of Christ Congregational in Plainfield, NJ. Lori’s play, The Sisters Grey, recently received a complete page to stage development and production through the August Wilson Center for African American Culture’s “New Theatre Initiative.”  The Sisters Grey received a staged reading at The College of William and Mary. An excerpt from The Sisters Grey was also featured in Luna Stage’s first annual short play festival.

Lori has served as a faculty member of Words and Music, sponsored by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society. During the 2010 Words and Music Festival, she launched the panel discussion about the relationship between race and literature by presenting a reading of her essay, Making War to Create Love, which placed as a finalist in the William Wisdom Creative Writing competition. Throughout her teaching career she has directed students, most notably, in a production of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor for which she and her students were awarded “Best Overall Performance” at the New Jersey Folger Shakespeare Festival.   Lori is a theater adjudicator and workshop instructor for the New Jersey, Somerset County Teen Arts Festival. As a seventeen-year teaching veteran, her experiences as an award-winning educator fuel her dedication to powerful and honest writing.  She is a recipient of the prestigious ING Unsung Heroes Award for Innovation and Excellence in Education.  In that vein, Lori Roper created Atticus Theatre Workshop, a writing lab for aspiring playwrights.  Her work as a playwright, essayist and poet cast illumination upon complex subjects such as education, race, gender, religion and class.  Lori is also an avid poet who hosts workshops with adults and children.  Her most recent workshop and performance took place at the Burgdorff Arts Center in Woodbridge, NJ.

Lori obtained her Master of Arts in English Education from New York University from which she graduated Summa Cum Laude.  Lori is a graduate of The College of William and Mary where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology.  She was awarded an annual Writer-In-Residence grant at the Ethical Cultural Society of Essex County, NJ and has served as a member of  the faculty at Essex County Community College. Lori is an alumna of the Creative Capital Professional Development Program. Lori is Gallery Aferro’s first writer in residence.