Dawn Larsen



Florence, SC


  • Theatre

Geographical Availability

  • Upstate
  • Midlands
  • PeeDee
  • Low Country


Artist Bio

Performer/storyteller/singer-songwriter, Dawn Larsen, grew up in the Ozarks amid lots of mountain music, arts, storytelling, beautiful hills and rivers. She taught herself to play guitar at 13. At a family gathering at about that age, after she had finished singing traditional ballads and was taking a break, her mother pulled her aside and asked, “Don’t you know anything besides death and dying music?” She’s proud to write and play Americana music, which is full of “death and dyin,” an integral part of the human condition. She’s currently touring three original musical solo shows: Granny’s FixIt: An Ozark Guide to Healing the Body and Soul is about grannywomen in the Ozarks and Appalachia, which won the 2022 Atlanta Fringe Festival’s Critics’ Choice Award. The Vicious Hillbilly or Dating in the Deep South about her experiences as a smart, mature woman and online dating in the deep South, which won the 2020 St. Lou Fringe National Artist of the Year. Corn Under Canvas: An Evening with a Tent Show Actress is about the life of Maxine Lacey who toured with the Bisbee Comedians tent show. She has released two CDs of original music, Hillbillyland (2016) and The Vicious Hillbilly (2013). She regularly plays festivals, house concerts, listening rooms and other events. Her day job is a Professor of Theatre at Francis Marion University. She founded and operated the last traveling Toby tent show in the country and researches and publishes about that and tent theatre.

Artist Statement

About twelve years ago, I started writing songs again because I discovered the best way to process a life challenge, and I was experiencing many, was to write a song about it and then perform it. Though I had been an actor since I was two, professional at 11, a songwriter since I was 13, and had worked full time in theatre in my 20s; I had quit writing for many years. But then, after writing and performing my new original music, I realized that the songs and stories that prompted the songs quite often became spines for bigger work, like plays. So…I started writing and performing solo shows. Unfortunately, women’s stories have always been, and still are, marginalized. And it’s no secret that music and performance industries favor youth quite often at the expense of substance. Further…I have always found myself living and working in rural America. So… to tell rural women’s stories (my story) through song and spoken word creates intimate connections with audiences (men and women… because everyone has a woman in their life) that I hadn’t had, or maybe didn’t notice, in my youth.

SO…Welcome to my current artistic phase, my crone phase. I think crones have something to say! I do anyway. My work is so different now, richer…deeper…because I have finally developed enough insight and wisdom to write material that comes from lived experiences, which make for the best songs and plays. I had a brilliant theatre professor in grad school who told me one time when I was lamenting the lack of professional performance opportunities nearby, “Well then, quit bitching and go make your own theatre!” I am doing just that… I hope to continue those shared intimate experiences through performance and perhaps motivate others to make their own…especially the crones.