Georgia Rose


Onyekachi Iwu



A Black mother struggles to advocate for her teenage daughter at a teacher’s conference. The play is inspired by the real life story of Grace, a 15-year old Black girl who was incarcerated in 2020 due to not completing her schoolwork during the coronavirus pandemic. The play explores themes of motherhood, incarceration, and living in a world that sees Black girls’ thorns before their roses.




Onyekachi Iwu is a Nigerian-American playwright, director, and filmmaker from Nashville, TN. She is a member of the American Theatre Group Playlab, 2020-2022 and Eden Theater Company Playlab, 2020. Her plays have also been developed and performed with the Classical Theatre of Harlem (Where is Nina Mae?), Two Strikes Theatre Collective (Georgia Rose), Conchshell Productions (Ants and Garlic), and Columbia University (Cotton Harris). Her full-length play, The Magical South, was a finalist for the Leah Ryan Fund for Emerging Women Writers in 2020 and the Crossroads Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative in 2021.She was also a finalist for UCROSS+The Blank Theatre’s 2022 Future of Playwriting Prize. Iwu’s work explores themes of Black love, Black womanhood, communal healing, and radical escapism.



1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?


I was always a very imaginative kid. I loved to read. I remember spending a lot of car rides either reading a book, or staring out the window, dreaming up vivid, elaborate stories with characters and dialogue. I think it was in 1st or 2nd grade that they taught us what an author was. And I was like oh! Someone writes these books. That’s where they come from.  So I told myself I was going to become a writer and started writing out my stories on college-ruled paper until my parents taught me how to type. Years later in college, I discovered theater and playwriting. I love dialogue, so I immediately felt like my words were at home.


2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?


The play was inspired by a real life case that occurred in 2020. A 15-year-old Black girl was incarcerated for not completing her schoolwork during the pandemic. I remember reading the story and crying and turning to writing as a way to process what I was feeling. My goal was to highlight the invisibility of the prison industrial complex and its intersection with Black girlhood. I wanted to challenge what it really means to hold empathy, patience, and space for Black girls who aren’t perfect victims. Even during a pandemic, there is so much pressure for Black girls to be gentler, quieter, more excellent, more able-bodied despite our realities and the violence happening to and around us. I kept working on the piece, and it was fortunately included in Two Strike Theatre Collective’s 2020 Brown Sugar Bake-Off Festival, which celebrated Black female creatives.


3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?


humorous, poetic, neurotic, precise, emotional


4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?


I am greatly influenced by my Southern and Nigerian roots. I am influenced by film, dance, and poetry. I am influenced by my best friends who are my guides, my comedians, and my philosophers. In terms of writers, I am influenced by Aleshea Harris, Ntozake Shange, Nora Ephron, Jocelyn Bioh, Dominique Morisseau, belle hooks, and my late grandmother Mary Harris.


5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?


When I was a teenager, I had a brief gig where I was hired to play a Disney Princess for a little girl’s birthday party. I played Princess Tiana!


6. What are some of your favorite plays?


Is God Is by Aleshea Harris, School Girls by Jocelyn Bioh, for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf by ntozake shange


7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?


I don’t have any new projects at the time of writing this! And that’s alright. I recently started a writer’s support group with two of my Black female friends, and I have really been enjoying that. We’ve been reflecting on our evolving relationship with writing, how to practice grace with ourselves, and how to confront fear. We’re also working to reconnect with the kind of love and freedom we felt for writing that we had as children.