Briyana D. Clarel is a Black queer writer, theatre artist, and educator passionate about musical theatre, mangoes, and memoirs. As a storyteller, they explore truth, healing, and joy through theatre, sketch comedy, poetry, and prose.
Briyana is the founder of The Starfruit Project, a platform highlighting creativity for radical healing and brilliant growth. Their writing is published in TAYO Literary Magazine, cavity, Black Youth Project, MELANINzine, and print anthologies.
As a director, performer, and playwright, Briyana has brought stories to life with the Painted Bride Art Center, OUTsider Festival, Shoe Box Theatre Collective, Dixon Place, Broad Views on Broadway, Cabernet Cabaret ATX, Philly Free Fringe, and more.
They are a 2016 recipient of the Acts of Greatness LGBTQ Youth Community Award and a 2020-2021 Core Playwright with InterAct Theatre Company. Briyana is on the sketch comedy team The Rhubarbs and a member of Ring of Keys.
Born and raised in South Jersey, Briyana loves sleep, taro bubble tea, and ferns.
When asked about what their work means to them, Briyana shares the following:
"While my work takes many forms, I am a storyteller invested in truth, healing, joy, and Black people. I create the art I wish I had access to when I was younger, and the art I want to see now. I tell stories that allow us to see ourselves, celebrate our radiance, and learn how to love each other better. Theatre, performance, and comedy are ways for me to express myself and connect to our world."
Briyana has always been a big theater kid since middle school, but they recently stumbled upon the world of sketch comedy.
"In February 2019, I was grouped together with a bunch of random people for a sketch competition. We called our team The Rhubarbs and won that competition, and the four after it. We’ve since written and performed a wintery holiday show, performed in festivals in Philadelphia and NYC, and worn many vegetable costumes."
"Sketch comedy is the creative outlet I never knew I needed. I get to write, sing, dance, act, and collaborate with hilarious people. Through sketch, we build the world we want to live in, a world where queer couples thrive, dancing vegetables cure depression, and musical numbers can happen at any time. We also question norms, like the prevalence of gender reveals, all while making people laugh."
"We haven’t done anything live in months because of the pandemic, and I miss it immensely!"