I am a multi-passionate Haitian 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.
I am currently the Black Theatre Coalition American Express Directing Fellow! See more below!
"The art must mirror the cause and propel it forward"
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 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!This is where adoptee stories of thriving, community, healing and empowerment are the centerpiece.
"We, as adoptees, have been made to fit in for so long, to assimilate, to be agreeable, to be likable. Now we’re given the opportunity to strike back at that with a positive spin, which is, ‘No, I’m going to lean into who I am...in the pursuit of finding a deeper sense of belonging, a deeper sense of identity and a deeper sense of ‘I am okay"
-Lanise Antoine Shelley
Haitian Times Article, 2023
"Shelley, a Haitian-American actor whose work is bringing more diversity to theatre and deeper perspectives to adoption conversations."
"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).
I've also recently partnered with IDENTITY,
an organization founded by Isaac Etter an adoptee, adoption consultant and entrepreneur. IDENTITY has created comprehensive practical guides to assist parents with black hair care and cultural assimilation. Listeners for the podcast receive a 15% discount link for these integral guides.