Theater Faculty

Elena Araoz

Elena Araoz headshot

Photo by Arthur Cohen


Elena Araoz teaches courses in acting, directing and theater making. As a director of theatre, opera and multimedia performance, as well as a writer and actor, she works internationally, Off-Broadway and across the country. The Latinx Theatre Commons named her creation of Two Arms and a Noise, a physical theater piece about the life of an indigenous Peruvian woman, as one of "thirty-six plays and writers that everyone should know;” the piece most recently played in Bucharest, Romania. 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.”

Upcoming, she will direct the opera I Am a Dreamer Who No Longer Dreams (which will next perform with Resonance Works Pittsburgh after its acclaimed premiere with White Snake Projects at the Paramount Theatre in Boston), and the commercial run of the new musical Havana Music Hall. Her virtual production of the musical Sugar Skull!(Mexico Beyond Mariachi) will once again replace its 30-city national tour. Currently playing is her recent direction of Marisela Treviño Orta’s new audio drama Nightfall (Audible).

During the pandemic Elena has been on the frontier of virtual live theatre, having conceived and directed the interactive website experience The Manic Monologues (McCarter Theatre Center), which was nominated for a 2021 Drama League Award. She also directed the acclaimed premieres of the operas Alice in the Pandemic and A Survivor’s Odyssey (White Snake Projects), the first virtual operas to live sync singers from remote locations, blended with CGI and facial motion capture, prompting The Wall Street Journal to note “Under Elena Araoz’s direction…a remarkable new environment for operatic experimentation.” Her virtual production of Virginia Grise’s a farm for meme 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.”

At Princeton, she founded and leads 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. The project is being archived by the Library of Congress.

Her latest productions include Original Sound (Cherry Lane Theatre), Mac Wellman’s A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds (New York Theatre Workshop Next Door), The Migration Plays (McCarter), Sweat (People’s Light), Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis), In Between (Walnut Street 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. Her international credits include the world premiere The Power in Beijing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Prague Shakespeare Festival. Opera productions include La traviata (New York City Opera at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House), Falstaff (Brooklyn Philharmonic at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House), choreography for Latin Lovers (Glimmerglass Opera), and choreography for Sir Jonathan Miller's La traviata (Vancouver Opera). Araoz is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect and the Drama League’s inaugural Beatrice Terry Artist-In-Residence.


“The (Virtual) Theatrical Fringe Moves Front and Center” in The New York Times | August 3, 2020

Interview, Works by Women | December 15, 2016

“Women to Watch” in The Interval | September 6, 2016

Innovations in Socially Distant Performance Theater Project | June 2020

Elena Araoz named on list of “20 Powerhouse Women Directors” | Playbill, November 16, 2020

DocPerform Webinar: Internet Theatre featuring panelist Elena Araoz and other UK theater scholars — Feb. 16, 2021, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The Manic Monologues nominated for Drama League Award for “Outstanding Digital Theater, Collection or Festival” | Playbill, March 30, 2021

Artistic Inspiration in the Time of COVID-19: An SDC Roundtable” including Elena Araoz | Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, SDC Journal, Spring/Summer 2021 issue, pages 11-13.

Elena Araoz Leads Research on Socially Distant Theater” | Princeton Alumni Weekly, June 2021 issue

Princeton University Keller Center’s 16th Annual Innovation Forum: Elena Araoz presents on Innovations in Socially Distant Performance — October 7, 2021 @ 2:50 PM

What I Think: Elena Araoz | Princeton University news, December 6, 2021

‘Right now, virtual theatre is just like when silent film was invented’ | The Stage (UK) March 1, 2022





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Lewis Arts complex
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