People find this hard to believe, but Eric Coble was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and raised on the Navajo and Ute reservations in New Mexico and Colorado, playing with rocks, sticks, seeing 1940′s serials at the movie theatre thirty miles away, and wandering the desert with his friends trying to avoid cactus until he was 15 years old.
Much of that time was spent writing/drawing comics and rigging up poorly built stage shows (much falling out of trees ensued). Moving off the reservation led to acting in high school, which led to majoring in English at Fort Lewis College (Colorado) before winging it to Ohio University for an MFA in Acting. Along the way he started writing plays, which (thank god) were well-received enough to spur him on.
Since then he has written a lot of scripts for adults and not-quite adults, including Bright Ideas, The Dead Guy, Natural Selection, For Better, Southern Rapture, A Girl’s Guide To Coffee, The Velocity of Autumn, My Barking Dog, and The Giver which have been produced Off-Broadway, throughout the U.S., and on several continents, including productions at Manhattan Class Company, The Kennedy Center, Playwrights Horizons, Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival, the Denver Center, New York and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, Alliance Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory, Florida Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Asolo Repertory, Coterie Theatre, Curious Theatre, Actors Theatre of Charlotte, Oregon Children’s Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre Company, Stages Repertory Theatre, Great Lakes Theater Festival, and The Contemporary American Theatre Festival.
Awards include an Emmy nomination, the 2011 AATE Distinguished Play Award for Best Adaptation, the AT&T Onstage Award, National Theatre Conference Playwriting Award, Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, an NEA Playwright in Residence Grant, a TCG Extended Collaboration Grant, the Cleveland Arts Prize, a Creative Workforce Fellowship from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, and four Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Grants.
Eric has now traded the cactus of the southwest for the poison ivy of northeast Ohio, where he is a member of the Cleveland Play House Playwrights Unit. He does miss the mesas, but can’t stop admiring the lush trees and that huge body of water just north of him.