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Lavina Jadhwani

Lavina Jadhwani is a Chicago-based director, adaptor, and advocate. She creates work that is well-crafted, rigorously researched, compassionately curated, and radically inclusive. As a second generation immigrant, Lavina constantly investigates the question, “What does it mean to be an American?” and through her work, she strives to expand the definition of that word to include more minority voices.

Lavina’s directing credits include work at Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Conservatory Theater, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Mixed Blood Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis), Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, Teatro Vista, Writers Theatre, and Rasaka Theatre Company (where she served as Artistic Director for 6 years). Lavina maintains relationships with Silk Road Rising (Artistic Associate), Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Artistic Engagement Associate), and the National New Play Network (Affiliated Artists Council). Time Out Chicago named her their “Best Next Generation Stage Director” in 2013.

Lavina loves language-driven plays, both new and old, from Eastern and Western canons. Her adaptations include THE SITAYANA (a solo performance piece based on the Hindu epic, The Ramayana), VANYA (adapted from Chekhov), and SHAKUNTALA: AN EAST-MEETS-WEST LOVE STORY (an a cappella musical, adapted from Kalidasa).

In her free time, Lavina volunteers with the Masonic Association of Service and Therapy Dogs.

Lavina is a proud graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University (MFA, Directing), Carnegie Mellon University (BFA, Scenic Design; Masters, Arts Management) and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. www.lavinajadhwani.com

 

actors onstage
Dismantling Anti-Black Language
Essay

Dismantling Anti-Black Language

27 August 2020

Holly Derr interviews Lavina Jadhwani about the document she created called Dismantling Anti-Black Linguistic Racism in Theatre, which offers several examples of potentially anti-Black language, such as Ethiopian, master, and minstrel; their use in Shakespeare; why they might be problematic; and possible substitutions.

zoom video chat of several people
Creating a Culture of Play via Zoom
Essay

Creating a Culture of Play via Zoom

15 June 2020

Lavina Jadhwani offers artists several techniques to better utilize Zoom, whether as leaders of classrooms, theatremakers part of shows, or attendees of events.

a group of people sitting onstage
How to Respond to a "Casting Controversy"
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How to Respond to a "Casting Controversy"

5 July 2018

Director Lavina Jadhwani summarizes conversations about casting she's been involved with in the past, and offers advice to artists and producers who find themselves facing criticism for their choices.

The Case for Hiring Asian American Directors
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The Case for Hiring Asian American Directors

1 October 2016

Director Lavina Jadhwani shares her experience as an Asian American director, advocating the need for more spaces and opportunities for Asian American theatre artists to collaborate together. 

Color Conscious Directing
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Color Conscious Directing

Three More Questions to Ask

15 November 2015

Chicago director Lavina Jadhwani follows up on her previous HowlRound article about color-conscious casting, discussing how to create a safe space while color-conscious directing.

Color-Conscious Casting
Essay

Color-Conscious Casting

Three Questions to Ask

21 December 2014

Director Lavina Jadhwani ask three questions, addressing how color-conscious casting impacts the story being told.

Photo from the Mildly Rehearsed Players’ Henry IV, Part One.
What I Learned from Not Rehearsing Shakespeare Plays
Essay

What I Learned from Not Rehearsing Shakespeare Plays

13 October 2014

I offered to cut "Henry IV, Part One" down to ninety minutes, schedule two rehearsals and one performance, and find a part for anyone who wanted to participate. Eighteen actors jumped on board, and I was determined to not direct them in this play.