( 1964- )
Lynn Nottage is from Brooklyn, New York, where her interest in playwriting began in high school. Nottage attended Brown University, majored in American literature and creative writing, and earned a BA (with honors) in 1986. Although two of her plays were produced for the new play festival at Brown, Nottage considered playwriting a hobby until she was encouraged by her professor, Paula Vogel. Nottage attended Yale School of Drama where she got an MFA in playwriting in 1989.
After graduation from Yale, Lynn Nottage returned to New York and began working for Amnesty International where she served as interim communications director and press representative. The Amnesty experience influenced her playwriting in ways that were unexpected. A program note for Poof! stated:
Rather than discovering through her work material for her writing, Lynn found it difficult to deal with the issues that she confronted daily. Thus Lynn places her work into two categories: 'pre-Amnesty' and 'post-Amnesty.' Before her affiliation with AI her style was what she describes as "heavy and dramatic." Since then, though her plays deal with the same basic issues, she treats them "lighter and with more humor." This shift in perspective occurred through her need to divorce herself in some way from the emotional drain of other people's suffering which she experienced at work.
In addition to commissions received from the Actors Theatre of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Dance Theatre Workshop and Second Stage, both in New York, Lynn Nottage was a resident artist with Mabou Mines in New York in 1992 and 1993. She has participated in a number of awareness-raising theatre projects including Shelter, a collection of short works by women drawing attention to the plight of homeless women, and she was a producer of Naked