Artistic Statement:

Theatre is a craft. A skill. It is not easy. I create representations of humanity. I seek truth. I am a theatre artist. And, as every artistic community needs leaders of artistic excellence in their fields, I strive to be one. I believe in artistic excellence.

I believe theatre is for everyone. Theatre should never allow you to nod off. It should require more. It should offer more.  

I believe in the transformative powers of all creative arts. I value partnering outside of my specific artistic field – to inspire me, to drive me, to challenge me, to excite me. I seek to discover the points of intersection between these arts. I am interested in where color meets word, where landscape architecture meets set design, where aerial dance meets heightened theatre text, where LeCoq meets film, where Dvorak meets devised performance…

I believe in Uncomfortable. It is the place that helps me grow as a director and actor, helps me to push through human frailty, to create anew, and to discover what I uniquely can offer the world around me – what I can contribute to the swath of the American Theatre, the World of the Arts. Because I believe in Uncomfortable, I believe also in Failure.

I wish for my art to engage a conversation. A conversation that prods the audience to reflect, urges them to look at their own humanity, charges them to belly laugh with a stranger, and plants the seed of recognition in them of our shared humanity. I believe in conversations about the big things in life. We are meant to seek understanding in this world. To create order and space and fill that space. In the words of one of my favorite writers: to create Cosmos from Chaos. I believe in cosmos. I hope my work inspires others to create and re-create their own cosmos.

I believe in entertainment. I believe in new work. I believe in great work seen anew. I believe in classics. I believe in tradition. I believe in devised performance. I believe in re-imaginings.

I believe in new work. I believe in great work seen anew. I believe in classics. I believe in tradition. I believe in devised performance. I believe in re-imaginings.

Theatre promotes and exalts the practice of transformation. Transformation is change. Change is a good thing. I believe in transformation.

I am an Iowa girl at heart, from the center of this country that so often falls short in it’s artistic values and creative exports. Nonetheless, my heart is midwestern to the core. I believe in Roots.

As an actor, I believe we practice the highest form of empathy. Our job is to walk a mile (or 2 hours and 15 minutes) in someone else’s shoes. Our job is to do this without judgement and with full trust in the inherent goodness of the other. Lack of empathy erodes our society. I believe the best way to create an empathetic, compassionate society is to demonstrate empathy, to show it skillfully practiced, and to inspire others to practice it as well. Actors must remain flexible, changeable even. Therefore, I believe in the task that is set before me: be it comedy, tragedy, musical, drama, classical, contemporary, devised, or new form. I also believe actors are athletes. Professional actors, like professional athletes, should be at the top of their game.

I believe in the likeness of all human beings. Only when we wholly understand our commonalities can we appreciate and be excited by our individuality. Only when we see others as we see ourselves can we aid, recognize, and save our human race. When we sit in the theatre together in the dark with excited anticipation, this sitting together creates connection. In a world that prizes isolationism, shut-down, privacy, and separateness, it is vital to create spaces that nurture basic community, interaction, neighborly-ness, public engagement, and commonality. I believe in the wholeness of humanity.

I am influenced by living a full life, by engaging in new adventures. I am influenced by challenge. I am influenced by the 90% of people I encounter that never go to the theatre. I’m influenced by the progressive work of many international companies exploring new models for theatrical performance. I am influenced by institutions exploring alternative forms of ensemble in the American theatre. I am influenced by humans. I am influenced by physical engagement. I am influenced by current events. I am influenced by history. I am influenced by Old Actors. I am influenced by extraordinary shows of technical skill. I am influenced by bad theatre, boring theatre, theatre seats full of homogeny. 

I believe in making stories that create a bigger mind and a kinder spirit.

I believe in the Funky, the groove, the Blues of theatre, the belly, the guts.

With credit due to Ben Franklin, I seek to increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interests and to strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates.


Shanara Gabrielle is artist working in a wide variety of theatrical mediums. As an actor, director, musician, aerialist, and performer Ms. Gabrielle is keen to find these arts’ points of intersection and discover new ways to shape the future of the American Theatre.

Interested in creating new work, Ms. Gabrielle has been fortunate to work closely with playwrights, directors, actors, and translators on the premier of a number of new plays in the past year. She has also recently had the pleasure of exploring the great classics, from Shakespeare to Noel Coward.

Ms. Gabrielle has worked at theaters across the country including: The Guthrie Theater, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Great Lakes Theatre, Northern Stage, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, St. Louis Repertory Theatre, Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, Metropolitan Playhouse, Theatre for the New City, Hollywood Playhouse, Musicals Tonight, The Black Rep, American Heartland Theatre, New Jewish Theatre, Upstream Theater, and been an ensemble member at The Great River Shakespeare Festival. She has appeared in film, television, and commercials. She is a proud recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation Award and a member of Actor’s Equity Association and Screen Actor’s Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.