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About Willy

Howard County

Willy Conley's picture
A native of Baltimore, Willy Conley is a retired professor and chairperson of the Theatre Arts department at Gallaudet University, the world's only liberal arts university for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. He is a multi-disciplinary artist -- who happens to be Deaf -- working in the areas of theatre, writing, and photography, sometimes separately, and at other times together. As a playwright he has won the VSA 2000 Playwrights Discovery Award, the American Deaf Drama Festival Award, the Sam Edwards... more

Vignettes of the Deaf Character and Other Plays

This book is a collection of twelve plays of mine written over a span of 20 years.

  • The water falls.

    A memory play from the book (see video clip for a scene from this play).

    PDF icon The water falls.
  • Scene from "The water falls."

    This shot was taken early in the development of this play. Mike Deninger is in the role of Grandpop, and myself in the role of Jed.
  • The water falls.

    Short scene when Grandpop appears in Jed's mind, in the Quest: Arts for Everyone production of this play at Olney Theatre in Maryland, March 2003.
  • Broken Spokes

    A full-length play in seven scenes from the book (see video clip for a scene from this play).

    PDF icon Broken Spokes
  • Broken Spokes

    These are some short scenes from my play, Broken Spokes, which was produced in the fall of 2009 in 1510 Theater Lab by the Department of Performing Arts at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at R.I.T.
  • "Falling on Hearing Eyes"

    "...a touring museum of Sign /anguish for People with Communications Disorders." This play was originally developed as part of my MFA Thesis at Towson University. It was later developed at CenterStage where it was given a workshop production (see video clip for a scene from this play).

    PDF icon "Falling on Hearing Eyes"
  • The Universal Drum, a dramatic, visual poem with drum accompaniment

    The Bethesda Academy of Performing Artsâ?? Imagination Stage commissioned this performance piece for the Deaf Access Company in 2002. The goal was to offer something quick and simple to set up on tour to perform before deaf and hearing audiences that would express the essence of the company. In April 2011, this piece will be produced by ARBOS as part of the European and International Deaf Theatre Festival.

    PDF icon The Universal Drum, a dramatic, visual poem with drum accompaniment
  • Universal Drum on Magazine Cover

    A shot from a production of The Universal Drum shown on the cover of Theatre for Young Audiences Today magazine.

Goya - en la quinta del sordo (in the house of the deaf man)

This nonverbal play is an exploration in gestures, masquerade, movement, and visual effects, including phantasmagoria, to discover the onslaught of Goyaâ??s deafness, and the impact it had on his life. It was written by Willy Conley and Iosif Schneiderman, and directed by Willy Conley. This production won top honors in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region II, at Carnegie Mellon University in 2008.

Publication Cover Photographs

These are samples of my photographs on covers of various publications.

  • Deaf American Poetry, front book cover

    The cover photo is a watergraph titled, "Tree in Savage." (for watergraph explanation, see my photo series, "Watergraphs.") Three poems of mine were published in this anthology from Gallaudet University Press.
  • 34th Parallel, front magazine cover

    The photo on this cover is called, "Night Dreaming on the Subway." This is in issue #5 and contains an interview about my past work as a medical photographer and as an artist. Three other color photographs of mine were included.
  • No Walls of Stone, front book cover

    My untitled photo is on the cover of this Gallaudet University Press anthology of writings by deaf and hard-of-hearing writers. Within is a poem, a short story, and a one-act play of mine. Also included, are 10 black-and-white artistic photos that I took.
  • No Walls of Stone, back book cover

    Watergraph, The Yellow Barn
  • Gallaudet University Bookstore catalog, 1993

    Front cover, Watergraph, The Yellow Barn
  • Broken Spokes, front book cover

    This is The Tactile Mind publication of my play, "Broken Spokes."
  • The Tactile Mind, front magazine cover photo

    Watergraph, "The water falls." In this literary magazine is my play of the same title: "The water falls."
  • unchARTed, front magazine cover

    This is an untitled, black-and-white shot that I took of one of the actors in the National Theatre of the Deaf. It goes with my published story in this magazine, from the now-defunct Deaf Artists of America, about a day in the life of this Deaf theatre company on the road called, "Day 57."


Watergraph was a term I invented that came from taking photographs of water reflections that have been turned upside-down. Depending on environmental factors like the wind, debris in the water, and the color of the sky, each inverted reflection created a painting in its own right framed by whatever was surrounding the water. This is part of my serendipitous quest of water reflections that range from little puddles to large bodies of water. To see how the images were originally discovered, turn your head (or your laptop) upside-down.

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Willy's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.