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The House Theatre Of Chicago Announces New Artistic Director Lanise Antoine Shelley

Lanise Antoine Shelley's appointment comes as Nathan Allen, founder and Artistic Director of 20 years, steps down from the post.

The House Theatre Of Chicago Announces New Artistic Director Lanise Antoine Shelley

The House Theatre of Chicago today announced the appointment of its new Artistic Director, Lanise Antoine Shelley. Shelley is a multi-hyphenate Haitian artist, director, playwright, educator, visual artist and accomplished actress who has performed with some of the country's most prestigious companies.

Lanise Antoine Shelley's appointment comes as Nathan Allen, founder and Artistic Director of 20 years, steps down from the post.

"We are extremely excited and energized that Lanise has joined The House," comments Board President David Shapiro. "She brings a new energy, and unique experience in performance, movement, directing, and storytelling. We all will miss Nate, who built a strong foundation for The House over the past two decades, but we are confident that the next phase of The House will be amazing under Lanise's artistic leadership. In partnership with our Managing Director Erik Schroeder, Lanise will continue to grow The House and re-activate our mission in new, innovative and exciting ways."

Lanise Antoine Shelley comments, "I am elated to start this adventure with The House Theatre of Chicago. Their whimsical and wonderfully imaginative plays are renowned. This partnership will explore the myriad of ways that we can reimagine storytelling and broaden our impact in the Chicago community."

Ericka Ratcliff, longtime Company Member of The House, comments "Ever since working with Lanise in 2016 on Plantation! at Lookingglass Theatre Company I have been a fan of her artistry. She is a talented visual artist, promising director and graceful actor. But most of all her vision for the company aligns with the aspirations we stakeholders have for The House moving forward. There is a refreshed perspective here at The House and I cannot wait to see how she leads us in our next chapter."

Carolyn Defrin, Founding Company Member of The House, comments "Lanise is a very exciting next leader for The House. With an impressive resumé across the performing and visual arts, she shares our passion for interdisciplinary and imaginative storytelling. She isn't afraid to address the current challenges facing the industry-specifically the need to work together on anti-racist approaches to creating art at all levels of the organization. And she understands the Chicago theatre scene while holding a global perspective having lived and worked all over the world." Defrin continues, "Nate created The House with incredible energy, talent and a big beautiful heart that beats profoundly in our foundation. We are now poised to build on our 20-year history and create a next chapter with Lanise, guided by her exceptional artistry, ambition, wisdom and care."

Kevin Douglas, a Playwright, Director, Actor and Ensemble Member at Lookingglass Theatre Company, comments "I have been a long time fan of The House. I am thrilled that Lanise will be their new Artistic Director. Not only is Lanise a huge multi-hyphenate talent, she is also a sharp, passionate, BIPOC advocate who is sure to bring fresh energy to her role. I can't wait to see the magic that this combination creates!"

About Lanise Antoine Shelley

Lanise Antoine Shelley holds a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts, an MFA from American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theater School at Harvard University, and certificates in classical theatre from the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England and The Birmingham Conservatory in Canada. She was nominated for the Princess Grace Award, and has been nominated for acting awards from the Black Theatre Alliance Awards and Joseph Jefferson Awards. She was Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Chicago Fellow 2016 and was Victory Gardens Theater's Directors Inclusion Initiative Fellow 2019.

Shelley recently directed a virtual reading of her new play Pretended, as the inaugural play in Paramount Theatre's Inception Project. In 2020, she directed virtual plays Manakin Blue, Luck of the Irish, an audio adaptation of Rastas and Hattie with 16th St. Theatre, and associate produced indie horror film Twenty Twenty. She will direct Rites of Spring with Rising Sun Performance Company in New York City this March 2021. Further directing credits include assisting David Schwimmer in the world premiere of Plantation! at Lookingglass Theatre, Silent Theatre Company, Rising Sun Theatre Company, Voices and Faces, Akvavit Theatre, and DePaul University.

As an actor, Lanise Antoine Shelley was last seen at Goodman playing in School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, and Danai Gurira's Familiar at Steppenwolf Theatre (Jeff nominated for best ensemble), and tv shows Empire, Chicago Fire, and Chicago Med; Other acting credits include Katherine in Bob Falls' production of An Enemy of the People at Goodman Theatre and work with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, American Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theater, Book-It Repertory Theater, Kansas City Rep, Seattle Repertory Theater, Outside the Wire, Backroom Shakespeare, Moscow Art Theatre and Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Shelley was a resident company member at Milwaukee Repertory Theater for five years where she performed in productions including Eurydice, The Glass Menagerie, Gem of the Ocean, King Lear, Sueno, ...Young Lady from Rwanda, and The Crucible.

Shelley's TV and Film credits include Twenty Twenty (Indie Film), Empire (FOX), Chicago Fire (NBC), Chicago Med (NBC), Discovery World, Stop.Reset., The Inner Room (Short Film), and Stratford HD.

As an educator, Shelley has twenty years teaching experience at institutions such as Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and Shakespeare Santa Cruz. She is an activist in the adoption community where she is a leading voice with the podcast "When They Were Young: Amplifying Voices of Adoptees," which brings to the forefront adoptee voices, while investigating the racial and cultural ramification of intercountry adoptions.


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