Elena Araoz is a stage director of theater and opera as well as an actress and writer.
Elena Araoz works internationally, Off-Broadway, and across the country. Upcoming, Araoz will direct Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics (Barrington Stage), Marisela Treviño Orta’s new audio drama Nightfall (Audible), the world premiere of Lindsey Joelle’s Garbologists (City Theatre Company), and the virtual opera premiere of Alice in the Pandemic (White Snake Projects). Her staging of Sugar Skull! A Dia de Los Muertos Musical Adventure (Mexico Beyond Mariachi) will receive a 2020 virtual production in place of its second national tour. Her recent virtual production of Virginia Grise’s a farm for meme (Cara Mia Theatre, allgo, Innovations in Socially Distant Performance) was dubbed by The New York Times as “form-busting” for its unique combination of “box puppets, shadow play, live film and archival footage into a gorgeous mise-en-scène that feels theatrical in its purposefully homemade aesthetic.” a farm for meme has been Howlround Theatre Common’s “Most Watched” virtual production.
She is a faculty member at Princeton University where she is leading the research project Innovations in Socially Distant Performance which studies the aesthetics, philosophies, tools, and artists who are transforming the fields of virtual live performance and socially distant productions. Its accessory website offers a place to create community, share information, inspire invention, and document the expanding art form, with an emphasis on sharing the tools and techniques of a reimagined trade. ISDP is thrilled to partner with UCLA’s Diversifying the Classics to launch Digital and Distanced Advances in the Theater Arts.
Araoz’s most recent NYC productions include the Off-Broadway world premiere of Adam Seidel’s Original Sound (Cherry Lane Theatre), Mac Wellman’s A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds (New York Theatre Workshop Next Door), Maria Irene Fornes’ Mud and Conduct of Life (Boundless Theatre Company), Migdalia Cruz’s Fur (New York Theatre Workshop Next Door), Melisa Tien’s Swell created with 10 immigrant composers (HERE), Catherine Filloux’s Kidnap Road (La Mama), Octavio Solis’s Prospect (Boundless Theatre Company), and Warren Leight’s Union Square Incident for The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway (American Airlines Theatre), and theatrical events for Anna Deavere Smith and the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue, PEN America, and The Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Regionally, Araoz most recently directed The Migration Plays by Mfoniso Udofia, Martyna Majok, Heather Raffo, Adam Gwon, and Karen Zacarias (McCarter Theatre Center), Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Festival St, Louis), In Between (Walnut Street Theatre), Sweat (People’s Light), and the theatre/orchestra collaboration Azaan (Oregon Symphony).
Opera credits include I Am a Dreamer Who No Longer Dreams (which will next perform with Resonance Works Pittsburgh after is acclaimed premiere with White Snake Projects), La traviata (New York City Opera at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House), Lucia di Lammermoor (Opera North), Falstaff (Brooklyn Philharmonic at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House), and choreography for Latin Lovers (Glimmerglass Opera).
The Drama League named Araoz the inaugural Beatrice Terry Artist-In-Residence where she completed her environmentally-aware music-theatre piece Plastic Drastic (an adaptation of The Odyssey, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Hansel and Gretel) which she also directed for Omaha’s Rose Theatre. Plastic Drastic is currently being produced at numerous collages and universities.
Two Arms and a Noise, which she last directed for the Bucharest International Theatre Platform in Romania, is a physical theatre piece about the life of an indigenous Peruvian woman which Araoz originally wrote and directed as a New York Theatre Workshop fellow and which was recognized in the Latino Theatre Commons’ "plays and writers that everyone should know.”
The New York Times has praised Araoz's productions as "striking," "primal," "wild," "stirring," and "refreshingly natural," The Boston Globe as "riveting," "dreamy," and “vivid,” and The New Yorker as “refreshing.” Time Out New York mentions, “Elena Araoz is a director with deep wells of imagination; she seems drawn to magical realist work.”