Ione Lloyd seems tailor made for our times, someone who strives to tell her story and the stories of others. She’s fearless – not afraid to claim her identity as a queer women of color, who’s seen and faced challenges. In a world that tries to silence her, and others like her, Ione sings her song, loud, proud, and unapologetically.
She is able to use her talents and platforms to magnify her messages. As a female screenwriter, Ione uses themes of female empowerment, the struggles of black people in an oppressive America, and the self-love and acceptance so lacking and so desperately needed in the LGBT community, many times echoing her own life experiences.
Ione is a Tow Playwright-in-Residence at the Public Theater and is currently developing a mainstage production to debut at the end of her residency. Ione most recently completed her first TED X Broadway as a featured speaker and is an executive story editor for Love Is____ on OWN, a staff writer for The Sinner on USA Networks, and a story editor for Hap and Leonard on AMC Networks and is working on a pilot for Fabrik Entertainment.
There are many challenges that female theater professionals must still overcome in order to have their voices heard. Through her work, Ione advocates for more equal opportunities in theater for female playwrights.
Can you point to one event that triggered your interest in your career?
It’s not just one event; it’s the culmination of not seeing stories where women of color and queer women are represented. I do not want to be absent in American culture.
What about this career choice did you find most appealing?
Stories are powerful. They can change hearts and minds. I want to be a storyteller who brings more love and compassion into the world.
What steps did you take to begin your education or training?
I am a self-taught writer; I learned by reading. I remember as a kid going to the library and starting with the A’s trying to read every woman author. The Public Theater has been a home for me.
Along the way, were people encouraging or discouraging?
Early in my life there was the expectation that I wouldn’t succeed – I was a poor kid of color. And one of the hardest things in my life is to remember that I have succeeded and to listen to the positive people in my life and not those negative voices I’ve internalized. I am daily learning to believe in myself more.
Did you ever doubt your decision and attempt a career change?
I’ve always had at least three jobs at a time in the hopes that my career would someday pay.
When did your career reach a tipping point?
Only recently in 2016 when I had a bare bones production of my play Pretty Hunger at the Public Theater.
Can you describe a challenge you had to overcome?
I tried to believe that the life and career I have now was possible and honestly I had a hard time doing that so I used my imagination and day dreamed my future. Sometimes my life still feels like a really wonderful dream.
What single skill has proven to be most useful?
I know that everyone has something they can teach me and so I value everyone I meet.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I try to include and uplift women in everything that I do.
Any advice for others entering your profession?
No matter what gig or fellowship or job you get or don’t get, remember that you write because you love it and if you don’t love it, become an accountant.