KFHS Radio New Artist: Ira Lawrence


Ira Lawrence is an internationally produced playwright who inherited a haunted electric mandolin from his estranged grandmother in 2014. After releasing his acclaimed debut EP “Elegant Freefall” (Independent Clauses #9 Best EP of 2015), he left Brooklyn for the Philippines with his AustraliAmerican Theater Collective EVERYTHING IS EVERYWHERE (2 Aussies 2 Americans 2 gals 2 dudes 2 goys 2 Jews 2 legit 2 quit) to write, teach, and perform at Manila’s Karnabal Festival of performance and social innovation.

While in The Philippines, Ira visited bombed-out hospitals on the island of Corregidor, a sunken cemetery on the island of Camiguin, and almost got cast as a lead in a Filipino soap opera. MAPAGKAWANGGAWA, his debut album, is a self-recorded 11-song musical travelogue informed by Ira’s adventure abroad- exploring alienation from friends, the excitement of being immersed in a new culture, and America’s tenuous history with The Philippines (which at one point was on track to be America’s 51st state).

Ira’s theatrical work has been performed at The Kennedy Center, Flea #Serials, Samuel French OOB, Ensemble Studio Theater, Short & Sweet Sydney, Collaboraction (at the Steppenwolf Garage), F*It Club, Source Festival, Single Carrot, The Australian Broadcast Corporation, and The Chicago New Media Summit (among many other places around the globe). In 2006, City Paper voted Ira “Best Playwright Of Baltimore”. In 2009, Dated: A Cautionary Tale For Facebook Users was a New York Innovative Theater Award nominee for best short play. Ira has received playwriting grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and Chicago Union League.

MAPAGKAWANGGAWA is also a Tagalog word for charitable and philanthropic. So, upon the album’s release in Fall of 2016, one dollar of every album sale will be donated back to The Sipat Lawin Ensemble- the vibrant and audacious Filipino theater company behind Karnabal.

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