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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 safe spaces where creativity and performances can be fearlessly explored. 




I am the Producing Artistic Director of  The House Theatre of Chicago. 


A little about me:  Actress, director, playwright, podcast host and visual artist. You may know me from Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Empire, 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.

Additionally, I was nominated for the Haunted Garage Horror Film Festival, Princess Grace Award,  Jeff award, Best Leading Actress by the BTAA, and was Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Chicago Fellow 2016. As a director, I served as Victory Garden Theater's Director's Inclusion Initiative Fellow 2019, and 2021 Drama League Classical Directing Fellow in partnership with Redbull Theater. 


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

Cecily Tyson


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. @youngadoptee


"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).

I'm also partnering with The Adoptee Collective and  F.I.S.T. , an organization dedicated to transforming the lives of previously incarcerated women. 

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