The fellowship was established with support from Columbia College Board of Trustees member Madeline Moore Burrell, founder and retired president of the marketing firm Moore Creative, and her husband, advertising executive Tom Burrell.
- Advance Columbia College Chicago student learning;
- Support new play development by providing resident playwrights with resources and time to write; and
- Strengthen Columbia’s commitment to cultural inclusion by exposing faculty and students to a broad pool of playwrights, particularly those representing communities of color.
Added Sands: “I want to thank Columbia Trustee Madeleine Moore Burrell and Tom Burrell for their vision and support of this important program in its inaugural year. I also want to express my gratitude to our Theatre staff and faculty member Dawn Renee Jones for her leadership in creating and overseeing this new program.”
Born and raised in Chicago, where she graduated with honors from Whitney Young High School, Colón holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her much-discussed drama Tilikum, which received its world premiere in June 2018 from Chicago’s Sideshow Theatre, used the real-life story of a captive orca that killed several trainers after torturous living conditions ruined its health as an allegory for racial oppression. The premiere production at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre featured projection designs by Columbia College alumnus Paul Deziel ’14,a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA program in technical theatre.
Colón’s other plays include but i cd only whisper, premiered at the Arcola Theatre in London in 2012; Octagon, which won Colón the Arizona Theatre Company’s 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award prior to its world premiere at the Arcola Theatre in 2015 and its U.S. premiere in 2016 at Chicago’s Jackalope Theatre; and Florissant & Canfield, an epic reimagining of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, featured in the 2016 Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival. She is an alum of the Playwrights Unit at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists. Colón earned the Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize in 2013 for her chapbook promised instruments. Her poems have been featured in the anthology The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015). She is the co-creator of #BlackSexMatters and co-director of the #LetUsBreathe Collective, an alliance of artists and activists who want to tell the stories of protestors and people involved in #BlackLivesMatter. Colón’s writing, producing, and organizing work has focused on efforts to radically reimagine power structures, acknowledge our complicity in them, and speak to visions for liberation.