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Ronee Penoi

Ronee Penoi (Laguna Pueblo/Cherokee) is Director of Artistic Programming at ArtsEmerson, Boston’s leading presenter of contemporary world theater. Previously, she was a Producer with Octopus Theatricals, where she advanced the work of Cherokee artist DeLanna Studi (And So We Walked), Phantom Limb Company (Falling Out), Ripe Time (Sleep), Homer’s Coat (An Iliad by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson), Theatre for One, and more. She is a two-time ISPA (International Society for Performing Arts) Global Fellow, and has been an APAP (Association of Performing Arts Professionals) Leadership Fellow and TCG (Theatre Communications Group) Rising Leader of Color. Ronee is on the board of the Producer Hub, and is also a Founding Member of The Industry Standard Group (TISG), a multimedia commercial investment and producing organization with an intentional focus on increasing the presence of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) investors and producers in the commercial producing field. She is also co-founder (and current core collaborator) of the Groundwater Arts Collective dedicated to climate justice in the arts (recipient of a SPACE at Ryder Farm Residency Grant). She is a proud NEFA (New England Foundation for the Arts) National Theater Project Advisor, and part of the working consortium of First Nations Performing Arts. Ronee is a two-time recipient of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Individual Artist Fellowship, recipient of a Sundance Institute Interdisciplinary Program Grant, as well as commissions from Baltimore Center Stage and Pittsburgh Public Theater, for her musical composing work with collaborator Annalisa Dias. Previously, Ronee was NNPN Producer-in-Residence at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Senior Producing Fellow and Directing Fellow at Arena Stage, and toured nationally with Anna Deavere Smith’s Let Me Down Easy. She spent three years with the Consensus Building Institute, a non-profit specializing in facilitation and mediation services. Her current anti-racism practice builds upon a decolonization framework and embraces systems change as a key component of that work. She graduated with honors from Princeton University with a degree in Music with certificates in Vocal Performance and Theatre & Dance. She has been invited to guest lecture on producing at Princeton University, CalArts, Howard University, and for American University’s graduate Arts Administration program.

A smiling woman and a woman speaking with a microphone.
Committing to a Community
Essay

Committing to a Community

Ronee Penoi and Shanta Thake in Conversation

4 January 2022

Ronee Penoi and Shanta Thake discuss their transitions into new leadership roles as Director of Artistic Programming at ArtsEmerson and Chief Artistic Officer of Lincoln Center, respectively—including their work to shift narratives on stage, see institutions as community resources, and keep deep listening at the core of their leadership practices.

a colorful illustration
Catalyzing Climate Justice by Divesting from Fossil Fuels
Essay

Catalyzing Climate Justice by Divesting from Fossil Fuels

19 February 2021

Annalisa Dias and Ronee Penoi, on behalf of Groundwater Arts, argue that there cannot be a just arts sector within an unjust world, and that contrary to what people think, arts workers do have the means and the agency to make change. What is needed is a new narrative.

sheet music
To Witness
Essay

To Witness

A Proposal to Build Radical Trust across Difference in the Arts

6 November 2019

Annalisa Dias and Ronee Penoi discuss decolonizing theatre, building trust and relationships across difference, and the act of witnessing.

The Creative Producer (noun)
Essay

The Creative Producer (noun)

A Definition

18 January 2016

In the second installment, Ronee Penoi defines her role as a Creative Producer and shares lessons she’s learned in her process.

Two Residents, One Play
Essay

Two Residents, One Play

Peter Sinn Nachtrieb on writing and Robert O'Hara on directing The Totalitarians at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

27 June 2015

Ronee Penoi sits down with Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and Robert O’Hara to discuss their process working on The Totalitarians Woolly Mammoth last year.

Reflecting on Twenty-Seven Years of Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center
Essay

Reflecting on Twenty-Seven Years of Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center

19 March 2015

Ronee Penoi on Shear Madness, the longest running play in the American Theatre. 

Making the Residency Work for You
Essay

Making the Residency Work for You

Robert O’Hara, Playwright-in-Residence at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

12 October 2014

Commons Producer Ronee Penoi interviews Robert O’Hara, Playwright-in-Residence at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington, DC.