Danai Gurira

By slmcgee
  • Danai Gurira is born

    Danai Gurira is born
    Danai Gurira was born on February 14th of 1978 in Grinnell, Iowa, to Josephine Gurira, a college librarian, and Roger Gurira, a tenured professor in the Department of Chemistry at Grinnell College. She is an Aquarius.
  • Robert Mugabe rises to power

    Robert Mugabe rises to power
    Robert Gabriel Mugabe was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then as President from 1987 to 2017. He served as Leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union from 1975 to 1980 and led its successor political party, the ZANU – Patriotic Front, from 1980 to 2017. His rise to power is the reason Danai's parent moved their family back to Zimbabwe when she was 5 years old.
  • Lancaster House Agreement

    Lancaster House Agreement
    The Lancaster House Agreement, signed on 21 December 1979, declared a ceasefire, ending the Rhodesian Bush War; and directly led to Rhodesia achieving internationally recognised independence as Zimbabwe. It required the full resumption of direct British rule, nullifying the Unilateral Declaration of Independence of 1965.
  • In the Continuum

    In the Continuum
    In the Continuum puts a human face on the devastating impact of AIDS in Africa and America through the lives of two unforgettably courageous women. Living worlds apart, one in South Central LA and the other in Zimbabwe, each experiences a kaleidoscopic weekend of life-changing revelations in this story of parallel denials and self-discoveries.
  • Eclipsed

    In 2015, Lupita Nyong'o starred in Gurira's play, Eclipsed, Off-Broadway at The Public Theater. It was announced that the play would move to Broadway in 2016. It was the first play to premiere on Broadway with an all female and black cast and creative team. The play is set in war-torn Liberia and focuses on three women who are living as sex slaves to a rebel commander, as well as one of his former wives, and a relief worker, and follows and how they deal with this difficult situation.
  • Broadway acting debut

    Broadway acting debut
    She made her Broadway acting debut playing Martha Pentecost in a production of 'Joe Turner's Come and Gone' by August Wilson at the Belasco Theatre in 2009. The same year, she published the play Eclipsed.
  • The Convert

    The Convert
    Set in 1896 Rhodesia, a young girl whose father has passed away is to be traded, by her uncle, to an older man with ten wives in exchange for a number of goats. She escapes this forced marriage by taking refuge in the home of an African teacher in the Catholic church. In exchange, she is given a new name, forbidden to practice her beliefs, required to wear clothing of the colonizers, and is cut off from her family to prove her Christian faith. As tensions in the surrounding villages grow.
  • Inspiration for writing

    Inspiration for writing
    "In terms of writing, I just wasn’t finding enough stories about contemporary African people—or historical, just anything, the whole gamut. I was starting to look for what I would like to perform, what I would like to see put to life onstage, and I was finding many stories about everybody else, but none about my own people. My playwriting became a “necessity being the mother of invention” type thing. I wasn’t finding what I wanted to perform, so I started to create it myself." - Danai Gurira
  • Familiar

    Marvelous and Donald, Zimbabwean emigrants in Minnesota, are preparing for the marriage of their eldest daughter, Tendi. They have gracefully blended Zimbabwean culture with their American culture, but their house is turned upside down when Marvelous’ sister comes from Zimbabwe to perform a traditional wedding ceremony in which the groom barters for the bride. Tensions flare and identities clash as the family’s fabric slowly unweaves and they are forced to take a hard look at who they truly are.
  • Her Works

    Her Works
    Danai Gurira is an award-winning playwright and actress. As a playwright, her works include In the Continuum, Eclipsed, and The Convert. Her newest play, Familiar, received its world premiere at Yale Rep in 2015, and premiered in New York at Playwrights Horizons in February of 2016.
  • Awards and Nominations

    Awards and Nominations
    For In the Continuum she won an OBIE Award, Outer Critics Award, and Helen Hayes Award. For Eclipsed she won Tony Award Nomination: Best Play, NAACP Award, Helen Hayes Award: Best New Play, Connecticut Critics Circle Award: Outstanding Production of a Play. The Convert won six Ovation Awards and a Los Angeles Outer Critics Award. She is a recipient of the Sam Norkin Award at the 2016 Drama Desk Awards, a Whiting Award, a Hodder Fellow.
  • Stance on Health and Well-being

    “There is a connection between my well-being and how I'm taking care of myself physically,” she says. “It allows me to feel stronger. I know there's not something in my head going, ‘I should really get exercising again.’” Her ability to stay consistent on her fitness keeps her grounded and focused on the present. “If I don't work out, it weighs on me. It weighs on me in that sense of being a component of my well-being that I'm neglecting.”
  • Josephine Gurira

    Josephine Gurira
    Josephine Gurira was born in Mature, Zimbabwe. She graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University and later earned her Master of Education in social studies from Penn State University, and eventually a Master of Arts in library science from the University of Minnesota. She worked in the University of Zimbabwe library for more than 23 years, holding positions that included reference, head of public services, information literacy instruction and deputy university librarian.
  • Roger Gurira

    Roger Gurira
    Roger Gurira is a Chemistry Professor at University of Wisconsin–Platteville. He and Josephine have other children named Tare Gurira, Choni Gurira, and Shingai Gurira.
  • Education

    She attended high school at Dominican Convent High School. Afterward, she returned to the United States to study at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Gurira also earned a Master of Fine Arts in acting from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
  • Her motivation to write plays

    Her motivation to write plays
    Gurira said that she began writing plays in an effort to better utilize her strengths as an actress, and to tell stories that convey ideas about strong women with whom she identifies. As a playwright, she has been commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Playwrights Horizons, and the Royal Court.
  • AIDS crisis in Africa

    AIDS crisis in Africa
    AIDS in Africa is one of the biggest humanitarian disasters of our time. South of the Sahara, the epidemic is the leading cause of death. Two-thirds of all HIV-infected people worldwide are Africans. The poverty disease AIDS has devastating social and economic consequences. The countries most affected by the HIV epidemic include the African countries of Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
  • Relationships

    She has been linked to her 'The Walking Dead' co-star Norman Reedus since they casually locked lips while on the sets of the show. However, the two have not spilled any details about the relationship yet and she is considered to be single.