I am the Artistic Director of
The House Theatre of Chicago.
A little about me: I am a multi-passionate Haitian actress, director, playwright, podcast host and visual artist. You may know me from Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Empire, Discovery World, 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, certificate in classical theatre from the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England.
Additionally, I was nominated for the Princess Grace Award, nominated for a Jeff award, nominated Best Leading Actress by the BTAA, and was Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Chicago Fellow 2016. As a director, I served as Victory Gardens Theater's Directors Inclusion Initiative Fellow 2019.
"The art must mirror the cause and propel it forward"
When They Were Young: Amplifying Voices of Adoptees
"I am the expert of my own story."
-Lanise Antoine Shelley
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 not modeled how to process their stories, embrace the culture they were born into or set boundaries with their adoptive families. 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 encouraging an empowered narrative. Our dialogue supports self-care practices, promotes mental health and celebrates the many aspects that make us whole.
"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."
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).