Marsha Estell headshot

Marsha Estell


Marsha Estell is a resident playwright alumna at Chicago Dramatists, 2010 3Arts/Ragdale Fellow, and recipient of the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for Playwriting. Her plays include Heat, which had its world premiere at Chicago Dramatists and was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Outstanding New Work. It received productions at Bloomington Playwrights Project, ETA Creative arts, Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre, and Etta Grace Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah. Heat was a finalist in the Dayton Playhouse Future-Fest and Theodore Ward Award for African American Playwrights and a Semi-Finalist for the Princess Grace Awards. It was anthologized in “New Plays from Chicago,” Chicago Dramatists.

Other plays include: Mama said there’ll be days like this - The History of the Girl Groups (world premiere, BTAA Nomination, Black Ensemble Theater); Before I Wake (Finalist, Theodore Ward Playwright Award and Many Voices Playwright Competition); Big butt girls and other fantasies…The Remix (Chicago Funny Women Festival, Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival, Solo Jams, MPAACT Theatre, Lifeline Theatre Fillet Solo Festival and Ripe Mango Productions, New Perspectives Theatre, NY, Wordfest); Third Rail (one-act play, commission by Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre, 2016); In search of a love supreme…a play with Jazz (Semi Finalist – Polarity Ensemble Dionysus Cup, 2015, Finalist - Urban Theatre Festival, 2014); The Crooner (2015 Black Lives Black Words festival); Black Girl in Bathtub (10 minute play, featured in 2016 Black Lives Black Words festival and selected for an anthology “Black Lives, Black words,” Oberon Books), 2017 Pegasus Players Muse festival; and Dandelions (one-act play, 2017 Peacebook festival, Collaboraction Theatre)

Marsha was commissioned by Next Theatre in Evanston, Illinois to write What You Need to Know, a play based on workshops with Evanston residents on the subject of education. Her plays have received readings at Chicago Dramatists, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Theater Company, ETA Creative Arts Foundation, Dayton Playhouse, Congo Square Theatre, New Perspectives, and Famous Door Theater.  Marsha is the new Director of the Tutterow Fellows program and teaches playwriting fundamentals at Chicago Dramatists. She is also an actress, with favorite roles including Angel in Blues for an Alabama Sky (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), Charlesetta in East Texas Hot Links (Onyx Theatre Ensemble), and Carla from Coffee will make you Black, to name a few. Television Credits include: Chicago PD (NBC) and Electric Dreams (Amazon). She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, SAG/AFTRA and Actors Equity.  

Marsha Estell has crowd-funded a project with 3AP

  • Black Girl in Bathtub

    • $6,010 raised of $5,000 goal
    • 0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
      • 3Arts matched
      • 120% funded

    I plan to develop a screenplay and produce a short fictional film based on my 10-minute play “Black Girl in Bathtub,” which will stand as a creative call-to-action against the sexual exploitation of girls. It has always pained me that our …

    Read more about Black Girl in Bathtub