Rachel Grossman (she/her) likes beets, brussels sprouts, and bourbon, action movies, infographics, dogs, the color pink, yoga, and well-facilitated discussions.
As a theatre-maker, I create work that entwines the audience’s experience with the play’s narrative, creating shows that are conversational in nature. Central to everything I make is an invitation to the audience to “invest in make believe,” rather than “suspend disbelief.” I strive to infuse anti-racism/anti-oppression (and therefore pro-diversity, inclusion, access, equity, and justice) values into my processes. 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?
(Looking specifically for a resume? Scroll to bottom of page.)
At present, I’m working as an executive producer with the JUBILEE, a yearlong, national theatre festival (2020/2021) that features those who have traditionally been excluded–including but not limited to artists of color, Native American and Indigenous and First Nations artists, women, non-binary and gender non-conforming artists, LGBTQIA2+ artists, Deaf artists, and artists with disabilities. I’m also an initiator and co-producer for the HowlRound Challenge convening “Deaf Theatre Action Planning Session.” I also mentor UK-based arts organizations through the Arts Marketing Association (UK) Audience Diversity Academy. I just wrapped up a two-year relationship as an artistic leader with the DeafBlind Theatre Initiative (also known as the ProTactile Theatre Initiative). And I teach yoga.
I am the Ensemble Director and 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. She 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 three-time recipient of a DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities’ Artist 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.
I graduated from Kenyon College with high honors in political theory.
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. I share her life with the superlative lighting designer Colin K. Bills.
More about my work and perspectives on the world can be found on abigeyedfish.com and on @RGinDC (Twitter and Instagram).