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Lanise Antoine Shelley

I am a multi-passionate Haitian artist spurred by the constant development of my craft and collaborations that insist that I be brave. My philosophy is to incite curiosity, mindful engagement, and create spaces where creativity and performances can be fearlessly explored. 


Hi there!

I am an  actress, director, playwright, podcast host and visual artist. You may know me from Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Empire, Saturdays, Discovery World, Fresh Hell and Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Macbeth HD. 


I've had the immense pleasure of studying abroad six times while achieving a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts, MFA from ART/MXAT at Harvard University, and a certificate in classical theatre from the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England.

And, this coming 2023, I am elated to announced that I will be awarded the Black Theatre Coalition  American Express Directing Fellowship! See more in my BIO. 

"The art must mirror the cause and propel it forward"

Cecily Tyson

When They Were Young: Amplifying Voices of Adoptees

It all started with creating the Interracial Adoptee Panel sponsored by US Foundation for the Children of Haiti (USFCH), the organization that supports the orphanage I came from. I facilitated conversations about race, identity, trauma and family with interracial adoptees from all over the world. Numerous adoptees are have no example or resources on how to process their stories, embrace the culture they were born into or set boundaries with their adoptive families. So I wanted to change that.  

Now we're a podcast! I anchor each interview in adoption-centric material, so we're not just relaying our stories,

we are sharing tools for healing and root every conversation in empowerment. Our dialogue supports self-care practices, promotes mental health and celebrates the many aspects that make us whole. @youngadoptee

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"An adoptee's story begins before they were adopted."

-Lanise Antoine Shelley

"Director Lanise Antoine Shelley also does a fine job of weaving the many moving parts into a cohesive whole."

"Shelley, as Ruth, balances the character’s world-weariness with an often acerbic point of view, generating some of the biggest deserved laughs in the show."

"Lanise Antoine Shelley, who plays Portia, is strong yet feminine, robust even on her knees and passionately beautiful..."

"Shelley's speeches mesmerized the audience, and her “yet here’s a spot” moment carefully balanced pathos with justice."

Newcity Stage

KC Studio 

Chicago Critic


More Things

Charities I collab with!


All of my art making leads me back home to The Haiti Home for Children. I am a proud adoptee from The Haiti Home for Children, where I am now a donor and advocate for the many beautiful children growing up in Port Au Prince, Haiti. Their education and wellness is ensured by the tireless efforts of the US Foundation for the Children of Haiti (USFCH).

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