She also studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
Heather Raffo is most famous for her notable role in the one-woman play 9 Parts of Desire, which has been noted "Profoundly moving! Rated A" by Entertainment Weekly. The play focuses on the lives of women in her father's homeland, and was originally conceived in 1993 after a visit to her Iraqi relatives. It was also inspired by Raffo's trip to the Saddam Art Centre in Baghdad where she saw only billboard sized portraits of Saddam Hussein. Later, in a back room, she saw a painting of a nude woman clinging to a barren tree. She took a photo of the painting, returned to America and devised a way of replicating the painting into a play. A decade later she completed the play, which features monologues by nine highly distinct Iraqi women, all played by herself.
The response to the play drew much media attention to Heather, as she has given numerous public appearances and interviews on American television shows. She has also spoken to the National Press Club, as well as featuring in O: The Oprah Magazine as part of her "Aha Moment". With such major success in London, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington DC, 9 Parts of Desire is currently being translated for international productions in France, Brazil and Turkey. On July 18, 2008, she will recreate some of her monologues from "9 Parts of Desire" at the New York Open Center and share what she has learned from what John Lahr in The New Yorker called "an example of how art can remake the world."
Heather has also been approached by International press about doing stories on her show, but she refused as she did not want to draw attention to her family in Iraq, as it could lead to dangerous circumstances.
Heather is also one of the six participating writers for the play The Middle East, In Pieces, a play which displays the current developments in the Middle East and addresses the conflicts in Lebanon, Israel and Iraq.
Her other acting credits include, playing Sarah Woodruff in the world premiere of The French Lieutenant's Woman performed at the Fulton Opera House. The off-Broadway, Over the River and Through the Woods, the off Broadway/National Tour of Macbeth where she played Lady Macbeth, The Merry Wives of Windsor as Mistress Page and The Rivals all with The Acting Company. Regionally in theatre productions of the following, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, Macbeth, and The Comedy of Errors all with The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego.
She has performed in the play In Darfur by Winter Miller at New Yorks Public Theatre, revealing the depth of the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. The play was made to raise awareness of the ongoing genocide in Darfur and help encourage activism.
She wrote the libretto for the opera Fallujah, based on the Second Battle of Fallujah.