Lori uses dynamic storytelling to engage and elevate the human spirit. Her prolific story-telling relies heavily on the element of surprise and uncertainty to destabilize and respectfully challenge the audience’s expectations of their perception of non-fiction/historical events being unveiled and performed. Her works most often serve as requiems to the illuminating spectres of her personal elders and ancestors from Newark, NJ, the Gullah Islands of NC and New York City, whose histories infuse her voice as a composer of new texts. Lori’s voice brings the arduous, historical journeys of those whose stories are often mythologized, muted and dismissed - by tantalizing them into the light of genuine, naturalistic reality.
As a writer, teaching artist and producer, she has served on the faculty of Words and Music, attended several prestigious residencies including, Yale Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, Southhampton Writers Conference and the Kenyon Playwrights Conference. Lori was the inaugural Writer in Residence at Gallery Aferro. She is the first author granted a studio in that art space, which is located in the heart of Newark, NJ. Lori is an award winning educator and recipient of the ING Unsung Hero Award for innovation and excellence in education. She has served as a member of the faculty at Essex County Community College, as a guest lecturer at The College of William and Mary as well as a Visiting Artist at Rutgers University.
Lori’s play, THE SISTERS GREY, was commissioned for and received a complete page to stage development and production through the August Wilson Center for African American Culture’s “New Theatre Initiative.” The August Wilson Center is located in Pittsburgh, Wilson’s hometown where his inspiration imbued her work while in development. The fiscal endowment for the commission was committed to the production staff, cast and crew and author. Since then, among other production opportunities, Roper has been the recipient of invitations to attend Ping + Chong and Company Summer Institute, Bread Loaf Writers Conference and Arts, Letters and Numbers. Lori is an alumna of the Creative Capital Professional Development Program. Her new play HAWKS TAVERN, has been commissioned by the Newark Museum and Newark Symphony Hall, both located in the state of New Jersey.