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Artist Statement

     “I’m one of those regular weird people” said blues rock icon Janis Joplin when describing herself. My Nana introduced me to Janis Joplin when I was a very small child, and that is where my love and appreciation of art began. Like my Nana, Janis was brave, innovative and compelling - and of course, a little bit rock ‘n roll. That is the kind of theatre I am determined to create; theatre that is brave and allows us to be brave; theatre that is innovative and encourages us to think in new ways; theatre that is compelling and thought-provoking, that inspires all of us to question and study the world around us. 

     To be brave is to have the courage to do something even when you are afraid. In September 2022 I packed up the first 32 years of my life - with my partner and our pup - and we moved 1,321 miles away from our family, friends and careers in South Florida and moved to Chicago to pursue my dream of living and directing in the city. Being brave means having the courage to do something that makes us vulnerable. Just like our choices in life, brave art is personal, scary and exciting all at the same time. Brave theatre is the kind of theatre I prefer to create.

Along with bravery, compelling innovation is something that I strive for as an artist. I believe that art should push us forward as a society and introduce us to new things. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to spend more than eight years in educational theatre, because arts education provides the perfect venue to practice compelling innovation in theatre. Theatre is a collaborative art form and being part of a team with the constraints that a lot of educational institutions face creates the perfect environment to creatively solve problems and create compelling and innovative theatre. 

     Rock ‘N Roll is more than a genre or an attitude. Rock ‘N Roll embodies the belief that the “weird” people who think outside of the box are the ones to look up to. That the “unseemly” people are the artists who create and teach us about ourselves and the world that we live in. That all people of every race, class and background deserve to create and to have their voices be celebrated. The kind of theatre that I like to be a part of mirrors the rock ‘n roll philosophy because it celebrates the weird, the unseemly, the peculiar and most importantly, the diverse.


Janis, my nana and myself have a few things in common, but the most important thing that connects all three of us is our love of art that is brave, compelling and a little bit rock ‘n roll. 


Leanna earned her Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from the University of Central Florida and her Master's Degree in Directing at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois. Originally from South Florida, she moved to Chicago after teaching theatre and directing for 8+ years.

Some of her recent directing credits include: The Siren Song of Stephen Jay Gould, Look Closer (staged reading), She Kills Monsters YA Edition, Antigone, Medea, Peter & the Starcatcher, A Christmas Story, Much Ado About Nothing, Not Unusual (staged and virtual readings), Ellison Grants a Wish (virtual reading), Mycelium (staged reading), and Tripping on Xanax at a Mumford and Sons Concert (staged reading).

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