Ty Defoe (Giizhig), is from the Oneida and Ojibwe Nations. He is a Grammy-award- winning composer, playwright, librettist, interdisciplinary artist, actor, choreographer, eagle dancer, and hoop dancer. Ty interweaves artistic projects with social justice, indigeneity, trans rights, Indigi-Queering, and environmentalism. Awards, residencies, and fellowships: TransLab Fellow, Global Indigenous Heritage Festival Award, Robert Rauschenberg Artist in Residence, Jonathan Larson Award, Cordillera International Film Festival Finalist, 2021 Cultural Capital Fellow, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center finalist, and the ASCAP Musical Theater Workshop. Ty’s songs have been featured at: Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, 54 Below, The Met, and The Kennedy Center. Ty’s theatrical work has been presented at: Guthrie Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Yale Institute of Musical Theater, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, Noor Theater, Native Voices at the Autry, The New Victory Theater, and the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, IL for the International Puppet Festival. Ty’s international arts highlights: the Millennium celebration in Cairo, Egypt; International Music Festival in Ankara, Turkey; and Festival of World Cultures in Dubai. Works: TransWorld, Red Pine, The Way They Lived, Ajijaak on Turtle Island, Hear Me Say My Name, Hart Island Requiem, Clouds are Pillows for the Moon, Wind Changes Direction, Before the Land Eroded, BasketBall Is ‘War, Minus the Shooting’ In Sectarian Lebanon, River of Stone, Firebird Tattoo, Trial and Tears (with Dawn Avery), and The Lesson (with Nolan Doran and Avi Amon). Ty is an artEquity facilitator, co-founder of Indigenous Direction (with Larissa FastHorse), and member of All My Relations Collective, which recently presented his work GIZHIBAA GIIZHIG | Revolving Sky at Under the Radar Festival, Incoming! at The Public Theater as part of the Devised Theater Working Group in New York City. His play Firebird Tattoo was published in The Methuen Drama Book of Trans Plays, 2021. He has done movement direction for Mother Road, Dir. Bill Rauch (OSF); and Manahatta, Dir. Laurie Woolery (OSF, Yale Rep). He was choreographer for Tracy Lett’s The Minutes on Broadway. Acting credits include Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men on Broadway (Dir. Anna Shapiro). He lives in NYC and loves the color clear. Member of: Dramatist Guild, SDC, ASCAP, First Nations Theater Guild, AEA. Pronouns: He |We | indigenousdirection.com | allmyrelations.earth | tydefoe.com
- MFA in Musical Theatre Writing, New York University, 2015
- MFA in Creative Writing, Goddard, College, Plainfield, Vermont, 2012
- BFA in Multidisciplinary Arts-Theatre School, California Institute of the Arts, 2010
Areas of Expertise
- Interdisciplinary artist
- Defoe, Ty, in Keyes, Mantoan, Schiller (eds) (May 2021) Firebird Tattoo, in The Methuen Drama Book of Trans Plays for the Stage, Bloomsburry, NY, May 2021.
- Defoe, Ty, in Syler-Banks (eds) (2020) Journey, in Casting a Movement, Routledge Press, Spring 2019.
- Gizhibaa Giizhig | Revolving Sky, All My Relations Collective, UtahPresents, March 5-6, 2021
- Gwekaanimad >><< Wind Changes Direction, (Latitudes Virtual Festival), April 22nd, 2021
- Copper Horns in Water, (First Stage Amplify Series), Premieres March 12th – April 3rd, 2021