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Halena Kays


Halena Kays is a Chicago and Nashville based theater director and performer. Most recently she served as the artistic director of The Hypocrites, where she both performed and directed. She is the co-founder and former artistic director of Barrel of Monkeys where she created and directed the majority of their public performances. She is a founding member of the newly formed artistic collaborative, The Ruffians, and directs their recurring hit production of Burning Bluebeard as well as their other experiments in live performance events. She is a UT-Austin and Northwestern grad, former member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit, past co-artistic curator for Theater on the Lake in Chicago, and professor of directing at Middle Tennessee State University. 

Halena is an Artistic Associate with the Neo-Futurists were she directed Pop/Waits, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Burning Bluebeard, co-created and directed Daredevils and Daredevils Hamlet and the sight specific extravaganza, Fake Lake. Other interesting Chicago directing credits include: Endgame, Ivywild, Six Characters in Search of an Author at The Hypocrites; The Magic Play at The Goodman, Lord of the Flies at Steppenwolf theatre company TYA; Feast (part of a collaborative directing effort) with The Albany Park Theatre Project at The Goodman. 

Halena has been nominated for a Jefferson Citation for Best Supporting Actress and Best Direction, named one of the top 50 “players” in Chicago theater by NewCity, is a recipient of the prestigious 3Arts Award, and received a signed letter from Mr. Rogers saying she was “special” in 1978. She also made an awesome kid who can spin and fall down.

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