The Dinétah Drama Festival (aka the Dinétah DramaFest) is an education program and drama festival for Diné adults with a separate youth festival for high school students. Both take place annually on the Navajo Nation or in its border towns. Participants learn the foundations of theater including playwriting, directing, acting, lighting, sound, stage management, and set design. The program culminates in the fully staged presentations of their plays over three days with an awards ceremony on the last evening. All the plays are written and presented in the Diné language and use as their basis traditional stories and ceremonies. Every year centers around a particular theme such as women, the land, or Diné history.
The original Diné Drama Festival was led by Norman Patrick Brown for four years (1990 - 1994) and included eight schools each year and approximately 100 students per year participated in the themed festivals.
Other activities under the Drama Festival umbrella include an annual Short Works Competition in Diné and English for both adults and youth, short and long workshops on themed topics, and opportunities for poets and storytellers.
NEW! SOCIAL ACTIVISM PLAYWRITING PROMPTS
Can't think of what to write about? Need ideas to prompt characters, scenes, and dialogue? Have a classroom of mature writers you are trying to jumpstart? The attached 30 prompts will get you, your writing group, or your classroom started. They explore water protectors, land back, and MMIW amongst other things. To download the prompts and instructions click here.
NEW! NAVAJO LANGUAGE
Check out our list of Navajo Language resources: degree programs, online and other programs, social media, apps, books. More resources to come including poetry. Download the resource list here.
THEATER - VIDEO & ONLINE
Check our our list of theater resources on video or online: Native American and Indigenous plays, lectures, and links to resources online. More resources to come including on Navajo language acquisition. Download the resource list here.
THEATER - IN PRINT
Check our our list of theater resources in print form: critical studies of Native American and Indigenous Theater, play anthologies, and single playwright collections. More resources to come including by video and audio. Download the resource list here.
PLAYWRITING PROMPTS FOR YOUTH
Can't think of what to write about? Need ideas to prompt characters, scenes, and dialogue? Have a classroom of young writers you are trying to jumpstart? The attached 30 prompts will get you, your writing group, or your classroom started. Though made with Diné youth in mind, a writer of any age can use them. To download the prompts and instructions click here.
STANDARD PLAY FORMATTING EXAMPLE
Don't know how to format your play script? Download the attached simple guide here.
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MISSION & GOALS
To preserve and celebrate Diné language and culture through engaging Diné in the performing arts.
The goals of the Dinétah Drama Festival are to:
Preserve and celebrate Diné language and culture
To heal intergeneration trauma caused by historical oppression
Introduce Diné participants to the power of the performing arts through their own and other cultures
Create a thriving theater and performing arts sector on the Navajo Nation, provide economic opportunities and benefits
Educate and train participants for work in theater, film and the performing arts.
Expose Diné participants to theater and performing arts professionals
To create a foundation for a sequential theater and performing arts education program in schools
Supported in part by
Your donation to the Dinétah Drama Festival helps us meet our mission to preserve and celebrate Diné language and culture through engaging Diné in theater.
Donate by sending a check to Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, Inc. at P.O. Box 4569, Arcata, CA 95518.
Check donations for Affiliates must be made out to Seventh Generation Fund with the Affiliate name noted in the check memo.
You can also donate online for the Dinétah Drama Festival via the Seventh Generation Fund here:
Artful Life, LLC
The Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization and your donation is tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law. To claim a donation as a deduction on your U.S. taxes, please keep your email donation receipt as your official record. The Seventh Generation Fund will send it to you upon successful completion of your donation.