Aleta Barthell

Playwright     Screenwriter    Teaching Artist


Aleta Barthell

I grew up in a small town in Wyoming. With only three channels available on television, none of which carried Sesame Street, I was left to my own imagination. I think this was the beginning of my path towards becoming a playwright/screenwriter/teaching artist.  

My play based on a New Orleans’ ghost story, Window of Shame, is a finalist at the National Playwrights Conference at the O'Neill Center for 2020-2021. This play was also a finalist for the 2016 HUMANITAS/CTG Playwriting Prize. 

Night Witches: Flight into Fantasy, was a part of the New Village Arts Theatre’s “2019 Final Draft Festival.” This play follows an all-female Russian air regiment during WWII.

I am drawn to writing from historical events and characters. I was  a panelist for “Writing from History” at the Dramatists Guild National Conference in La Jolla, CA.  I am also an ambassador for the Dramatists Guild in San Diego.

I created my own youth theater education program, Kids Act, at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad, California; and  I am also a teaching artist for Playwrights Project that teaches playwriting throughout San Diego County.

I hold a Bachelor in Science in Theater from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL). I also trained at British American Drama Academy (Oxford, England) and Shakespeare and Company (Lenox, MA). I studied playwriting and screenwriting at UCSD. 

A recent grant recipient from California Humanities, I am the project director for a program called SAVING STORIES: A Toolkit in the Age of Covid-19. The project pairs individuals isolated in assisted and skilled nursing facilities with San Diego dramatists who will write dramatic monologues based on their lives to be shared with the community through New Village Arts Theatre. 

I am currently developing a television series about the 12th century queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. This endeavor began with a grant from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to study source material in Paris about this powerhouse of a queen and the poetess, Marie de France, who was a part of Eleanor’s Courts of Love.

I currently live in San Diego with my husband under blue skies.