Heather Raffo

Playwright & Actor

Heather Raffo headshotHeather Raffo is a singular and outstanding voice in the American theater whose work has been championed by the New Yorker as “an example of how art can remake the world.” Having helped forge a new genre of Arab American theater, she’s spent her career writing and embodying stories of Iraq: from the lives and dreams of Iraqi women in her seminal work 9 Parts of Desire (2003), to the suicidal ideation of an Iraq war veteran in the opera Fallujah (2012, PBS Film 2016), to the restless longings of an Iraqi refugee architect, in Noura (2018). A multi award-winning writer and actor, she’s toured nationally and internationally: from The Kennedy Center to The Aspen Ideas Festival and from London’s House of Commons to the U.S. Islamic World Forum. Her anthology (2021), Heather Raffo’s Iraq Plays: The Things That Can’t Be Said, brings together two decades of her most groundbreaking contributions to the American theater and speaks to the bravery required to be at the forefront of a movement. Raffo’s most current work seeks to experiment across genres: In March 2023, she released a film adaptation of 9 Parts Of Desire on PBS, and her latest, Migration Play Cycle: A New Theatrical Platformreceived a prestigious Creative Capital Grant and had concert readings at The Kennedy Center and the Arab American National Museum. Centering themes around migration and the global economy, this new work, her most ambitious in scale and scope, aims to be the first ever-evolving, multi-locational, theatrical platform. Being raised in the Midwest and the daughter of an Iraqi immigrant, Raffo has committed her artistic practice to working across all kinds of borders: on mainstages and in rural communities; with the military and in the Middle East; in swing states and in refugee facilities – as she helps shape cultural and national conversations about the most pressing issues of our times.


Session: Tell Me Your Story

Interested in 2025?

Click here to sign up to receive our 2025 Positive Business Conference communications.


See Schedules: In-Person & Online