Toni Press-Coffman was born and raised the Bronx. She has lived in 14 U.S. cities and done artist residencies in 11 more. She wrote her play about Richard III (Two Days of Grace At Middleham) at Hawthornden Castle outside Edinburgh. Written in a rage about Shakespeare’s acting as a Tudor propagandist, the play traveled to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in summer 2000.
With a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, she wrote Touch at coffee shops and motels along the Pacific Coast as she traveled to and from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. After productions in Tucson and Indianapolis, the play opened Off-Broadway at the Women’s Project in 2003, and has subsequently been produced throughout the United States.
She wrote La Sangre Llama in Indianapolis in collaboration with that city’s Santeria community, and Coyote y Culebre in collaboration with second, third and fourth graders in Tucson public schools. She wrote That Slut! during an NEA/TCG Playwright Residency at Indianapolis’ Phoenix Theatre, where it premiered.
Although she can’t prove it, she believes she has had more readings and workshops of her plays (that did not lead to full productions) than any other living American playwright.
In addition to writing plays, Press-Coffman has taught playwriting at the undergraduate and graduate levels and mentored numerous playwrights through her work as a Literary Manager and Dramaturg.
United, Press-Coffman’s most recent play, about the lives of the people who died on Flight 93 in the Pennsylvania countryside on 9/11, had its world premiere at Winding Road Theatre Ensemble, the company she co-founded with her husband Glen in 2009. She lives with him, their cats Gus and Junior, and their dog Mareeba in Tucson, where she writes and acts. Most mornings, she’s excited to wake up in such a beautiful place.