I AM: a Brooklyn based freelance director and producer who seeks to reimagine the human experience through work that uncovers where we have been, exposes where we are, and imagines where we are going as a community. I’m committed to using theater to build bridges. I believe in the coexistence of opposing forces, the duende of it all. I embrace the beauty in the mess, linking the classic and new, surreal and human, the audience and the performer and more importantly, the theater and our local and global communities. At times a director, at times a producer, at times a teacher, always a creative leader using artistic action and reimagination in the arts to ignite communal empathy, joy and change.

LRussell_port_joehloper28.jpg

IMAGINE

Above all else I seek to create work that reimagines, rebuilds and redefines possibility.  I’m inspired by theatrical stories with a deeply honest core but that have the possibility to be told in a non traditional, innovative, theatrical form. I think that many of the by the numbers processes that have become status quo are limiting and unsupportive of the environment and spirit needed to create collaboratively. I’m challenging my imagination to come by with ways to facilitate new processes in the rehearsal room that focus on the upholding of the voice of every artist in the room where all feel valued for their capacity to dream, and think and act courageously. I love stories that demand the impossible of all involved, stories that ask more questions than answers; stories that live in the space between the real and surreal, the awake and the dreaming, the living and the dead. I seek to create a world on stage or produce a piece of work where the familiar is strange and the strange is familiar. Where process, form, communication are constantly being challenged and reimagined.

EMPOWER

Simply put, I’ve spent a life in the theater because I believe in it’s invaluable ability to empower others. Empower other to speak, to listen, to question, to express truth, as that is the basis of how we form community. I work to hold space for courage and creative expression whether this person chooses to identify as an artist or not. From middle school girls in the Bronx to professional New York actors, my number one priority is encouraging empowerment of their unique and important voice. I’m holding myself accountable to make plays that are invitations and conversations rather than presentations and placing focus on the audience as a character in the play. I’m dedicated to not only what stories we are sharing but how we are sharing them and who we are sharing them with. This value started my community based theater collective, the [re]group.  

COMMUNITY

I am a teaching artist with The Other Side Intercultural Theatre. The Other Side creates a cross-cultural exchange of dramatic storytelling amongst girls which supports their common experience, inspires leadership, and develops community. Using devised theatre and storytelling techniques, participating girls create dramatic pieces, exploring what it means to be a girl in the context of their own community and culture. The great strength and the great suffering that comes a long with a female identity is brought to the forefront. I’ve been working to develop the curriculum into one that allows the empowerment of each girl’s chosen female and artistic identity. I also founded community engaged theater

ACTION:

I am currently a free lance producer, producer of community based theater company the [re]group, a producer for GMP Productions and the Audience Development Associate for All For One Theater. I work actively on the production and producing sector to make sure the goals of communal and theatrical change are activated, practiced and put into action.


Lana Resume draft copy.jpg
LRR.jpg
33158686_411461482659681_4135942708776665088_o.jpg