Lisa Rothe is a NYC based freelance theater director, acting /vocal coach and educator. She was nominated for SDC's Joe A. Callaway Award for Direction for Hold These Truths by Jeanne Sakata, produced by Epic Theatre Ensemble in NYC. The play was also nominated for a Drama Desk award for Best Solo Performance by actor Joel de la Fuente and the Tony Award winning TheatreWorks/Silicon Valley production recently won 3 Theatre Bay Area Awards for Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Performer and Outstanding Production. Other productions at The Cultch Historic Theatre in Vancouver, Barrington Stages, The Guthrie Theater, ACT in Seattle, Playmakers Repertory Theatre, the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, the SoloNova Festival in NYC, and was produced by Hang A Tale at the Sheen Center in NYC.
Currently the Director of New Works at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Lisa was thrilled to produce the 4th annual Origins KC New Works Festival and was in the process of producing the 5th Festival in March 2020, when it was canceled because of social distancing precautions due to COVID-19 . Alongside Angel Desai and Grace Zandarski, she has been a co-Artistic Director of The Actor's Center in NYC for the past three years. Lisa is also a recent co-President of the League of Professional Theatre Women, is on the Artistic Advisory Council of Epic Theatre Ensemble, on the Advisory Boards of Houses on the Moon and the Detroit Public Theatre, a Usual Suspect with New York Theatre Workshop, an Artistic Affiliate and Audrey Fellow with New Georges, a Drama League alum, a fox Fellow alum and a member of the National Theater Conference. Lisa received her MFA from NYU's Graduate Acting Program and was subsequently invited by mentor and teacher Zelda Fichandler to be part of the inaugural year of NYU's Directing program for alumni of the MFA Acting program. She also studied with the legendary Joseph Chaikin in his workshop for actors and directors.
Lisa's guiding principle is 'helping people access their voices in creative ways on a global scale' and tends to be drawn to intimate stories about people who are discovering their voices and have big things to say. She has a passion for developing and directing new plays, reinventing the classics, and is a fierce advocate for women and telling their stories. In her coaching work, Lisa focuses on helping people connect their body, voice, mind and spirit through a series of playful explorations and practical methodologies to help present themselves in the most grounded and authentic way possible.
Lisa has workshopped, developed, and directed hundreds of new works with multiple award winning writers. In New York, she has developed and presented work at HERE, NYTW, New Georges, The Lark, The Culture Project, The Foundry, Ensemble Studio Theater, The 52nd Street Project, Naked Angels, Epic Theater Ensemble, Summer Play Festival, among others. As the Director of Global Exchange at The Lark in NYC for over five years (2010-2015), she provided expanded opportunities for playwrights, aimed at advancing new work to production, both nationally and globally
(facilitating reciprocal translation programs with China, Mexico, Romania & Russia).
Some favorite recent directing work: Steel Magnolias at The Guthrie Theatre, Fun Home and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Amber Waves by James Still at Indiana Repertory Theatre, In My Chair, written and performed by Eva DeVirgilis at Virginia Repertory Theatre/Cadence Theatre, WIld Abandon, written and performed by Leenya Rideout at the Irish Repertory Theatre, Sooner/Later by Allyson Currin at Cincinnati Playhouse, and Confederates by Suzanne Bradbeer at Theatreworks (nominated for 8 Bay Area Critics Circle Awards).
Along with composer Kim Sherman and librettist Margaret Vandenburg, Lisa has been developing a new music-theater piece about Ada Byron (Ada), Lord Byron's daughter (who developed the prototype of modern computer language in the early 1830's), which was presented as a part of the Center for Contemporary Opera’s Development Series. For more info about the development of the piece, click here.
Lisa was raised in Dundee, Illinois and before a commitment to theater, she took a detour into the world of biomedical engineering at the University of Iowa, where she developed a Chekhovian theater company in the lounge of her dorm. So much for engineering.
One of Lisa's favorite organizations is Dr. Jane Aronson’s World Wide Orphan Foundation (WWO), where she spent a few summers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, developing theatre and arts programming with orphaned HIV+ children and teens, and sharing the work with local communities, to help destigmatize AIDS/HIV. Please support them if you can.
photo by Dan Norman