Alexis Macnab is a director, curator, deviser and performer whose works of new multi-disciplinary performance have been produced internationally and across the U.S. With an emphasis on environmental performance, physical theater, and visual design, Macnab is devoted to strengthening the muscle of imagination by challenging assumptions of form and genre in the live arts.
Macnab's original adaptations of literature for the stage have been staged across the country and include Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time at the Oberlin Summer Theater Festival, Vladimir Nabokov’s Gods at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady in Los Angeles and New Orleans. Her collaborations with contemporary playwrights include Janet Sternburg's The Fifth String at REDCAT in Los Angeles, Trigger Happy Jack by Timothy Braun presented at HERE Arts Center in New York, and Rabbit in The Blue by Amanda Jane Shank presented in downtown L.A.’s Broadway Civic Center. Her work has been supported by the Automata Residency Program, the CalArts Center for New Performance, and the City of Santa Monica Studio Residency at 1450 Ocean Avenue. She was awarded a 2016 Workshop Grant by The Jim Henson Foundation for The Fasting Girls, a new play by Amanda Jane Shank developed as a puppet-based performance.
Interested in site-specific and site-responsive performance, she makes pieces for warehouses, living rooms, parking lots, and hallways. The Castle Ivar mansion in the Hollywood Hills was the setting for Honest Ghosts, a roving and haunted adaptation of Hamlet, named as one of the TOP 10 Things to Do in Los Angeles by HUGECITY. Dark Space, an immersive spectacle co-created by Macnab and puppet artist Kate Brehm, was selected for a 2009 Space Residency Award by chashama arts and installed in a 42nd Street Manhattan storefront. In 2016 Macnab founded CHAMBER SHAKESPEARE, a performance company bringing intimate adaptations of Shakespeare's plays into peoples' living rooms. The company began presenting their flagship show, CHAMBER HAMLET, to houses in the Los Angeles area.
Her work has been praised by both critics and audiences and called "breathtaking" (The Long Beach Post), “spellbinding” (Informed Edinburgh), and “wonderful” (ThreeWeeks). Macnab is also an actor, dancer, and puppeteer and has performed in works by Heidi Duckler, Jim Simpson, Janie Geiser, Susan Simpson, Juliana F. May, Tom Lee, Redmoon Theater, Jessica Thebus and Joyce Piven, among others. Macnab earned her M.F.A. in Directing for the Theater from the California Institute of the Arts in 2013, and her B.A. with High Honors in Theater in 2001 from Oberlin College in Ohio.
Macnab is also an educator in various disciplines including acting, directing, movement, story-theater, puppetry and visual art. Her workshop series, Storytelling Toys, was first hosted at Automata Arts in L.A.'s historic Chinatown gallery district. She has taught various puppet and craft workshops at the Camera Obscura Building in Santa Monica, including pinhole camera photography, shadow puppets, toy theater, and collage. Macnab teaches BFA and MFA Movement, Contemporary Dance, and Theater Directing as Faculty in the Acting Department at the New York Film Academy's Los Angeles campus. She has worked as a Guest Director/Lecturer at California State University at Long Beach, and Oberlin College, and the California Institute of the Arts. Currently she is serving as Acting Faculty at the California Institute of the Arts, teaching and directing the Graduating Actors Showcase for 2017.