Playwrights debut. Tori is a Minneapolis-based playwright originally from Boston. Her plays include If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka, This Land Was Made, Cadillac Crew, Where Butterflies Go in the Winter and Some Bodies Travel. Her work has been developed at Great Plains National Theater Conference, Berkeley Rep’s The Ground Floor residency program, Victory Gardens’ Ignition festival and Ubuntu Theater. Tori is a 2017 Playwright’s Center Jerome Fellow. Two of Tori’s plays appeared on the 2017 Kilroys List and she received an Honorable Mention from the 2016 Relentless Award. She was the Kennedy Center’s 2017 Paula Vogel Playwright and second-place Lorraine Hansberry recipient. She was a 2017 finalist for the Alliance Theater’s Kendeda Prize. Tori is currently working on commissions from the Atlantic Theater Company, Berkeley Rep and Yale Rep. She holds a BS in sociology from Ball State University and an MFA in playwriting from Yale School of Drama.
Think of words you may deem part of pop culture, words that seem to sprout up on social media, take over your newsfeeds, and then fade out of existence. Think “bae,” “bruh,” “bless.” If someone asked you where these words originated, where would you say? (Divinia Shorter, Literary Fellow)
In 1998, 15 years before Beyoncé released her song “Pretty Hurts,” Lauryn Hill dropped her legendary record ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.’ ... And on a road in Raleigh, tucked into the backseat of her mother’s peach Volvo on the way to school, nine-year-old Tori Sampson was listening. (Lizzie Stern, Literary Associate)
Tori brings the music and dance and the light touch of her folkloric inspiration, but feels free to imbue it with contemporary references and language. This hybrid approach ensures that the play feels as much like an exploration of Africanness as an exploration of her theme.