TOPHER PAYNE is the author of more than a dozen produced works for the stage, including LAKEBOTTOM PROPER at The Springer Opera House, TOKENS OF AFFECTION at Georgia Ensemble Theatre, ABOVE THE FOLD, which won the 2009 Metro Atlanta Theatre Awards for Best Original Work and Best Play of the Year, and THE MEDICINE SHOWDOWN (co-authored with Adam Koplan), which Creative Loafing selected as one of the Best Plays of the Decade.
A resident of Atlanta since 1999, Topher served as a Grand Marshal for the 2011 Atlanta Pride Parade, and has been honored with numerous distinctions by the community, including: Best Local Playwright (Creative Loafing Reader’s Choice, 2010, 2011, 2012); Best Local Writer and Best Local Actor (GA Voice Reader’s Choice, 2010, 2011, 2012); Artist of the Year (David Magazine 2011) ; Best Local Playwright (Sunday Paper, 2010); and Best Actor (2011 Post & Alley Awards, for his performance in Proof.)
Topher’s acting career extends in two directions: His roles include David Frost in Frost/Nixon (Springer Opera House), Hal in Proof (OnStage Atlanta), Vince in Tape (Pinch n’ Ouch Theatre), Bat-Hamlet in Bat-Hamlet (Essential Theatre), Winston in The Credeaux Canvas (Atlanta Classical), and an appearance in the upcoming Universal Pictures release, Identity Thief, starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. He is doubly blessed with a second career as a “male actress” (borrowing a term from Charles Busch). His roles in that arena include the title role in Auntie Mame, Latrelle in Sordid Lives, The Succubus in Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Mother Superior in The Divine Sister, Dorothy in Golden Girls Live, and his best-known work, three years of playing Julia Sugarbaker in Designing Women Live.
Topher is an artistic associate with Atlanta’s Pinch n’ Ouch Theatre and Onstage Atlanta, as well as Flying Carpet Theatre in New York. He is the Literary Manager of The Process Theatre, and The Executive Producer of the Atlanta 24-Hour Plays for Working Title Playwrights.
Atlanta’s Essential Theatre recently produced the World Premiere of his play EVELYN IN PURGATORY, and Topher’s offering up three more premieres in the coming year: SWELL PARTY at Georgia Ensemble Theatre in January 2013, ANGRY FAGS at 7 Stages Theatre in February 2013, and LAKEBOTTOM PRIME with The Springer Opera House in May 2013.
Topher lives in a little brick house with a husband named Tommy, a beagle named Daisy, and a bunch of imaginary people asking him to tell their stories.