Theater Faculty

Elena Araoz

Elena Araoz headshot

Photo courtesy Elena Araoz


Elena Araoz is a stage director of theater and opera as well as an actress, working internationally, Off-Broadway and across the country. For her creation of Two Arms and a Noise, a physical theatre piece about the life of an indigenous Peruvian woman, the Latino Theatre Commons named it one of "thirty-six plays and writers that everyone should know." Two Arms and a Noise will next perform at the Bucharest International Theatre Platform in Romania. The Drama League recently named Araoz the inaugural Beatrice Terry Artist-In-Residence where she completed her commissioned play Plastic Drastic, an environmentally-aware music-theatre commedia piece inspired by The Odyssey, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Hansel and Gretel, which she also directed for Omaha’s Rose Theatre. 

Araoz recently directed the collaboratively-created Off-Broadway piece Architecture of Becoming by Kara Corthron, Sarah Gancher, Virginia Grise, Dipika Guha, Lauren Yee (Women’s Project at City Center), Octavio Solis' Prospect (Boundless Theatre Company), and Mac Wellman’s world premiere plays Wu World Woo and Horrocks and Toutatis too (Sleeping Weazel at ArtsEmerson). Internationally, she directed the world premiere of Li Tong Chen's The Power in Beijing, the first English-language play commercially produced in Beijing, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Prague Shakespeare Festival in the Czech Republic. Opera productions include La traviata (New York City Opera at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House), Lucia di Lammermoor (Opera North), Falstaff with Sir Thomas Allen (Brooklyn Philharmonic at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House), choreography for Latin Lovers arranged by Steven Blier (Glimmerglass Opera), and choreography for Sir Jonathan Miller's La traviata (Vancouver Opera). 

Recent new play workshops include Tiny People by Christopher Oscar Peña (Two River Theatre), River of Gruel by Sibyl Kempson (New Dramatists), Megastasis by Kia Corthron (New York Theatre Workshop, Yale University), and Welcome to Fear City by Kara Lee Corthron (Labyrinth Theatre).

As a director, Araoz is attracted to epic stories, and her productions are known for huge dance-like theatrics and acutely naturalistic acting. Her acclaimed operetta War Music, which she adapted with composer Paul Philips from Christopher Logue's retelling of the Iliad and devised with six performers, stages the bloodiest scenes from the Trojaar. War Music, commissioned by performance ensemble Aurea for the FirstWorks Festival, toured New England and was also presented by the New York Institute for the Humanities, Chicago Humanities Festival, and the Chorus of Westerly.

With New York’s St. Fortune Collective, she directed the site-specific theatrical event Wood Music, which toured through and around the historic Florence Mill in Omaha and turned the entire building into a musical instrument for the audience to play with the band nestled inside.

As her productions are critically acclaimed for superb acting, she regularly teaches acting at universities and young artist programs. Araoz is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect, a Time Warner Foundation Fellow Alum of the Director’s Lab at Women’s Project Theatre, a New Georges’ Affiliated Artist and Audrey Resident, and a recipient of the Dr. David Farrar Opera Stage Director Grant. She is a founding member of The Sol Project and will direct their inaugural production of Hilary Bettis' Alligator with New Georges. She holds her MFA in Acting from the University of Texas at Austin.

Campus Address

Wallace Dance Building W326
Lewis Arts complex
122 Alexander Street

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