Rachel Grossman (she/her) likes beets, brussels sprouts, action films, dogs, the color pink, infographics, and well-facilitated discussions. She’s a director, devised theatre artist, collaborative playwright, and audience engagement working in the U.S. theatre for two decades. Since 2015, she’s consulted organizations in change management from an equity and justice foundation, and designed and facilitated antiracism/anti-oppression learning spaces. After living in Washington, DC for 21-years, Rachel relocated to Omaha, NE in 2020.
(Looking for a resume? Scroll to bottom of page and visit “Theatre” page.)
My artwork activates audiences to discover and participate in theatrical events she creates, in order to propel people to action in their own lives and communities. I create performances that entwine the audience’s experience with the play’s narrative, resulting in shows that are conversational in nature. My shows invite audiences to “invest in make believe,” rather than “suspend disbelief.” My equity and justice values are integral to my praxis. How can we create on our growing edge? How can audience be integral to live performance? How can theatre inspire self-discovery and champion social change?
At present, I’m working on:
- Directing Othello with Nebraska Shakespeare (Omaha, NE), running June/July 2022.
- Co-creating Tillage! with Fly Jamerson, Alex Jacobson, and Jenny Pool with BLUEBARN’s Big Damn Door Festival, showing late August 2022.
- Shaping Inclusivity & Audiences Day with Arts Marketing Association (UK) in May 2022 and consulting with AMA’s programs Show Up and Heads Up.
- Practicing and occasionally teaching yoga.
I’m a co-founder of dog & pony dc. With the company, I co-created nearly 20 new plays and interactive experiences. I directed Peepshow, DISCOVERED!: the untold story of Catenarians, Beertown, COURAGE, and co-directed Toast. I performed in Cymbeline, Bare Breasted Women Sword Fighting, Separated at Birth, Beertown, Squares, DISCOVERED!, and touring performances of A Killing Game and Toast. Through the Beertown Takes America initiative, I assisted theatre companies in Omaha, Cincinnati, and Raleigh adapt and produce locally-resonant productions of Beertown. (I directed and co-wrote all three.) I also co-wrote and co-directed San Diego’s REP’s Beachtown by Herbert Siguenza, directed by Sam Woodhouse.
I’m responsible for launching Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s “connectivity” initiative and served as the first Connectivity Director. Prior to that I was the Director of Education & Outreach at Round House Theatre, and managed education and community programming at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Arena Stage, and CENTERSTAGE. I directed, performed, and devised productions and projects at: San Diego REP, Theatre J, Adventure Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, CENTERSTAGE, Round House Theatre, Forum Theatre, Source Festival, Referendum: Political Arts Collective. I was an Associate Producer for the 2010 Source Festival, focusing on Literary Management and Casting, and also spent a few years producing with eXtreme eXchange.
I love working with arts, culture, and humanities organizations (and sometimes science-y ones) on developing strategies for deepening and broadening staff, audience, and community interaction and investment. I led pre-conferences and presented with National Arts Market Project (NAMP) on audience engagement and empowering staff to serve as change-agents within their companies. I also facilitated sessions and workshops at TCG conferences, as well as Arts Marketing Association UK, Network of Ensemble Theatre, American Alliance for Theatre and Education, and Association for Theatre in Higher Education. I served on grants panelist with the National Endowment for the Arts, TCG, Montgomery County Arts & Humanities Council, and DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities.
I was honored to be a member of HowlRound’s National Advisory Council for five years. I served on the Interactivity Foundation’s Arts & Society panel, exploring the arts and public policy. I was an adjudicator with Washington, DC’s Helen Hayes Awards for four years. A firm supporter of health and safety in the workplace and community, I instructed with the American Red Cross for over a decade.
I’m a four-time recipient of a DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities’ Arts and Humanities Fellowship grant and received an individual artist project grant in support of my project Nice & Lily, a play for young children and their adult companions exploring race bias. I was one of eight selected to participate in WESTAF’s second annual Dinner-vention, hosted by Barry’s Blog in 2014. I was one of fifty theatre professionals selected to be part of TCG’s 50th Anniversary campaign I AM THEATRE. My video, which launched the campaign in June 2011, can be seen here.
When I’m not trying to save the world through theatre, I practice yoga, read non-fiction books, or stream crap television shows about supernatural phenomenon in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
More about my work and perspectives on the world can be found on the blog portion of abigeyedfish.com and @RGinDC (Twitter and Instagram).