Diana Burbano, Playwright

Diana Burbano, a Colombian immigrant, is a playwright, an Equity actor, and a teaching artist at South Coast Repertory and Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble.
Diana’s plays focus on female protagonists. Plays include Policarpa, Fabulous Monsters, & Caliban’s Island. Linda, (in English and in Spanish), has been seen all over the world.She was a writer on “Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta” which is currently wowing audiences in West Hollywood.
She is in Center Theatre Group’s 2018-19 Writers Workshop cohort and is under commission by Alter Theatre in San Rafael.

I approach my work from both worlds. I consider myself an American, because I was raised here but I also have a pull to be a part of my home country.

Immigrants often feel a sense of not belonging in either country, and I definitely feel separate from the place I was born. In a lot of my work, such as “Policarpa” and “The Ghosts of Bogota”, I’m trying to reconcile the two with my own vision of Colombia. Perhaps it would be easy to pigeonhole me as a writer of Magical Realism, but that is a label I am not eager to embrace. Magical Realism has become a genre that expresses a primarily realistic view of the real world while also adding or revealing magical elements. However, I think that removes it from the original usage, which was a way to illuminate the darkest, most painful parts of Latin American society. Rather, my work is closer to nightmare magic science fiction. Perhaps I need a new designation, something that is a distortion, a twist in the mirror. “Policarpa” is a twist of magical realism on stage, through the contemporary lens. A nightmare. My Latina women are not a “Magical Minority.” Not benign, not pure, I think they have more agency than women are allowed in what is generally defined as Magical Realism. Their hands are not clean, they are complex and difficult, and I think, completely unique.
I am a self-taught playwright. I have learning disabilities that made it very difficult for me to get through high school. Processed academic language is not my language, but I have worked with colleagues who are academics and we have learned from each other. I have been fortunate enough to work closely with playwright peers at Center Theatre Group, the Drama League, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Dramaturgia Mexicana. I have a thirst for learning and working with writers, who come at work from an entirely different point of view.”


Contact Information

Diana Burbano
(310) 437-9246

Artist Links



Artist Work

Manuelita Saenz (2019)
You’ve heard of Simon Bolivar, but have you heard of the bold Manuelita Saenz Diana Burbano tells the story of this South American revolutionary, spy and soldier who fought to free her country from colonial power An illegitimate mixed-race child raised by radical nuns, Manuelita refused to be oppressed by

Diana Burbano on Manuelita Saenz - Look What She Did

Diana Burbano tells the story of a South American revolutionary.

New Play Echange (2019)
Diana's work on the New Play Exchange

Link to New Play Echange

Policarpa (2018)
With musical guest Marie Gabrielle "In a future Colombia controlled by the very wealthy, the brilliant, mad Ingrid Bolivar collects young women and turns them into weapons. Policarpa, a girl with magical gifts, must resist the allure of becoming a creature of destruction. Can she instead become a savior?"

Link to Policarpa

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