Michael Oatman is the Playwright-In-Residence at Karamu Theater, the oldest African American theater in the country. He is only the second person to hold this honor in the storied history of Karamu; the first being Langston Hughes. In 2011, he won the CPAC Workforce Fellowship and the Cleveland Art Prize in 2010 for Best Emerging Artist and the 2010 Lantern Award for Best Play. In 2011, three of his full-length plays were produced: Breaking the Chains, You Got Nerve and Sometime Hope Is Enough. In 2010, seven of his plays were produced in various venues: Black Nativity (Adaption), Warpaint, Eclipse: The War Between Pac and B.I.G., Course of Action, My Africa, A Solitary Voice, Not a Uterus in Sight, Hitler and Gandhi. He earned an English Degree from Cleveland State University in 2004 and completed his MFA in theater, from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Consortium (Cleveland State, Akron University, Youngstown University and Kent State) in 2008.
“For me the beauty of theater is that it lives. It is not an artifact. It wrestles with us and forces us to wrestle with it. Plays live in real time; actors can reach out and touch you. Good drama is not a spectators sport. It’s a subtle give and take, a delicate dance between actor and audience; playwright and the world. I have often mused that playwrights are the special forces of the creative writing world. We parachute in; give truth and watch as the walls tumble.”