Award-winning playwright Linda Nieves-Powell creates a business model that promotes awareness of Hispanic voices through theater.
LatinaLista — How does a right-brain, methodical entrepreneur and self-professed lover of numbers reconcile a left-brain, spontaneous creative drive to manipulate language?
Create a multimedia entertainment business, of course.
Though it took over ten years for New York-Puerto Rican playwright and author Linda Nieves-Powell to decide to put aside her Business Administration degree and focus on pursuing fulltime her passion for playwriting, it was a dream that Linda conceptualized long before as a nine-year-old putting on plays in her backyard.
“I had no idea that this would become my profession,” shared Linda. “I simply was doing what was fun and what came naturally.”
Perhaps because it was such fun for her, Linda never seriously considered playwriting as a profession until she saw the actor John Leguizamo in the play Mambo Mouth.
“My life changed overnight. Seriously,” said Linda. “He inspired me to get pen to paper and pursue my dream professionally and not as a hobby. He was the first Latino I saw that used theater as a way of sharing his Latino experience.”
Today, Linda is the president and founder of New York-based Latino Flavored Productions, Inc. and the holder of a slew of national recognition and playwriting awards.
Through her company, Linda not only produces and stages “Latino-flavored English-language original works but she collaborates with fellow Latina writers and tailors productions to take on the road to college audiences and for corporate diversity programs.
The talented Latina has also branched out into novel writing and film. Both of which she conquered with the release of her debut novel, “Free Style,” this past spring, and the creation of a short film titled “Mimi’s Portrait” in 2005.
Linda confessed that while she’s taken a few writing classes and an occasional workshop, she’s mostly a self-taught writer. Moreover, she never imagined that her initial motivation to write, so as to show people that “Latinos don’t come in one shape, size or color,” would propel her to where she finds herself today.
She credits joining a local writer’s group to being one of the first steps she took to realize her dream. Unfortunately, it was almost over before it began. The obligatory critique sessions proved tough for Linda, especially when her colleagues’ negativity shredded her writing skills. Yet, she didn’t give up.
It was that persistence, along with, the advice of another member in the group to enter a writer’s contest sponsored by the cable movie channel HBO, that proved to chart a new destiny for Linda.
Though she didn’t win the contest, her writing was judged to be among the top 25 out of 3,000 submissions. It gave her the confidence she needed to pursue her dream even farther.
“When you embark on a dream,” said Linda. “There is a long apprenticeship that follows. It could be a few years or a lifetime. What’s funny is you are the only person who can set the date for your coming out party.”
Luckily for Linda, the road to being a successful playwright can be combined with a day-job. Because of her business background and a knack for being resourceful, Linda soon learned that she really didn’t need to make any financial investment to jumpstart her dream of becoming a playwright.
She found that the Internet and her local public library were the primary tools she needed in refining her craft. When the time came to submit her work to be read, she discovered there were free opportunities everywhere for writers like herself.
Linda grasped those opportunities and created a business model that not only achieves her dream of getting her voice heard, but sets the stage for other Latinas to share their voices with the world.