Derek Lee McPhatter is a writer/producer committed to new work that engages diverse communities, emphasizing narratives at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality and technology.
Derek received a Guy Hanks & Marvin Miller Screenwriting Fellowship at the University of Southern California, launching a slate of film, TV, and digital projects. Up next: HIVE – a futurist anthology series co-created with Stephanie Jeter and Tim Maupin, which has received production awards from the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. He co-created She’s Out of Order, which received an Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Award at Los Angeles Webfest 2015, and served as showrunner for Hair Story, an experimental digital series with OTV | Open Television.
Derek is a 2021 Creative Capital Awardee and 2020 Resident Playwright with Chicago Dramatists. He has written five musicals for The Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Unlimited division. Bring the Beat Back is his queer, black, sci-fi, music-theatre passion project, a 2020 O'Neill Semi-finalist, and recently a featured presentation in the 2019 Polyphone Music Festival (Philadelphia), followed by a concert production run with Otherworld Theatre Company.
Other plays include Real Talk with Auntie B, a satire on American ambition in the age of social media and Serious Adverse Effects, a play on technologies of healing incubated at the National Black Theatre. His work has been supported by grants and prizes from the Jerome Foundation, the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund, the Puffin Foundation,the Djerassi Artists Residency Program, the Propeller Fund, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the United States Embassy in the United Kingdom, to name a few. Publications include Otherwise Oblivion, a featured play in the 2016 afro-futurism volume of Obsidian - Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora. He holds degrees from Morehouse College and New York University and splits his time between Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.