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"When I dare to be powerful to use my strength in the service of my vision, it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."

- Audre Lorde


Lanise Antoine Shelley is a Haitian actress, director, and podcaster known for Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Empire, Saturdays, Stratford Shakespeare's Macbeth HD, Indie Horror film Fresh Hell.


Recent directing credits include a staged reading of Jean Racine's Phedre (starring Jennifer Ehle) and A Tempest at Off-Broadway Red Bull Theater and FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française). 

Lanise has directed her full length play Pretended (Paramount Theater), The Tragedy of King Christophe, adapted The Snow Queen ; an audio adaptation of Rastas and Hattie with 16th St Theater, starred in and associate produced indie horror film Fresh Hell, directed in the Rites of Spring Festival with Rising Sun Performance Company. Further directing credits include assisting David Schwimmer in the world premiere of Plantation at Lookingglass Theatre, Silent Theatre Company, Voices and Faces, Akvavit Theatre, and DePaul University.


Lanise was last seen acting in the Guthrie Theater's Henriad (Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V), Chicago Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and Goodman Theatre's School Girls; Or, African Mean Girls and a reading of their new works, Darkling at Nightfall. Danai Gurira's Familiar at Steppenwolf Theatre (Jeff nominated for best ensemble); other acting credits include Robert Falls' production of An Enemy of the People at Goodman Theatre, and again Danai Gurira's The Convert. Additional regional work with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theater, Book-It Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Rep (Resident company member for five years), Kansas City Rep, Seattle Repertory Theater, Outside the Wire, Backroom Shakespeare and Shakespeare Santa Cruz.


International Theatre: Macbeth, Aenied, and All My Sons at (Stratford Shakespeare Festival) and Nutcracker Turbo (Moscow Art Theatre). 


TV/Film: Saturdays (Disney), Fresh Hell (Indie Film), Empire (FOX), Chicago Fire (NBC), Chicago Med (NBC), Discovery World, Stop.Reset., The Inner Room (Short Film) , Macbeth (Stratford HD).


Training includes an MFA from ART/MXAT at Harvard University; BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in acting, directing and playwriting; certificate in classical theatre from BADA in Oxford, England; certificate in classical theatre from Birmingham Conservatory in Canada, and a voice and speech course with Kristin Linklater in Scotland.



Finalist for the Barbara Whitman Directing Award 2024

Black Theatre Coalition American Express Directing Fellow 2023

Chicago Fellow for Stratford Shakespeare Festival 2016

Directing Fellow for Victory Gardens Theater 2019

Drama League Classical Theatre Directing Fellow 2021

Nominated Best Actress for For Fresh Hell, Haunted Garage Film Festival 2021

Jeff Nominated best ensemble for Familiar 

BTAA Nomination for Best Leading Actress 

Nominated for the Princess Grace award by Harvard/ART

Movement Teaching Fellow for Harvard/ART

Proud member of SAG & AEA


Lanise is also the host and creator of podcast "When They Were Young: Amplifying Voices of Adoptees"

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