Artistic Director

Jessica Lanius
Artistic Director / Co-founder

Jessica has returned to Wisconsin after years performing and directing in both New York City and Los Angeles. She holds an M.F.A in Theatre Arts from Rutgers University and a B.F.A in Acting from UW-Stevens Point. Jessica has worked as an actor, both on stage, television and in commercials. New York Theatre Roles include: Belle in Ah! Wilderness directed by Amy Saltz, Anna in Burn This directed by Tyler Marchant, Isabella in Measure for Measure directed by William Esper, Julie in Miss Julie and Clytemnestra in Wrecked with Theatre Lila, Edgar in The Lear Project at Harwich Theatre, Nina in The Nina Variations at Primary Stages, Helen of Troy in Goethe’s Faust at the Blue Heron Arts Center, Jill in The Drove Theatre Co.’s The Big Funk, Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Women: Under the Corset produced by The Wake Up Artists and Miss Julie in JULIE produced for Theatre LILA's inaugural season. She has recently performed with Madison’s Forward Theater Company as Catherine in In the Next Room or the vibrator play. Jessica has appeared in numerous national network television commercials running for the past 10 years including spots for V-8 Juice, Lowes, Kraft, Tylenol, K-Mart, Claritin, Babybel, Stella Artois, Walmart, Toyota and many more. She is currently a client at Stewart Talent in Chicago, CESD in New York City and a member of Actor’s Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild.

While in New York, she created and founded Theatre LILA for which she has developed and created original works including: Shakespeare’s Women: Under the Corset and The Waltz of Elementary Particles produced at The American Theatre of Actors NYC, Alice Shaken & Stirred produced at The Dragon’s Egg, CT and Thesmophoria produced by River Arts Inc, through a grant from Sauk County Arts, Humanities and Historical Preservation Committee and FIRECRACKER produced at Theatre Row, 42nd Street NYC. Martin Denton of NYtheatre chose Theatre LILA’s FIRECRACKER as one of his top ten plays in New York City in 2008. Most recently she launched LILA in Madison with the NO CHILD & NO STORY LEFT BEHIND PROJECT at Overture Center for the Arts in 2014.

Jessica has trained with renowned teachers William Esper and Maggie Flanigan in NYC as both an actor and specialist in teaching the Meisner Technique. Teaching credits include: Rutgers University B.F.A Actor Movement Training, Voice & Speech and Acting, the Meisner Technique at Piero Dusa’s Acting Conservatory in Los Angeles, Workshops in Anne Bogart’s The Viewpoints at Columbia University summer program, UW- Stevens Point, River Arts Center in Sauk Prairie, Harwich Junior Theatre, New York City Professional Performing Arts School and the Somerset County Performing Arts Conservatory.

Andy Arden Reese
Artistic Director NYC-Cape Cod / Co-founder

Andy Arden Reese has been living and working as an actor, director, and teacher in the New York City area since 1987. She has worked with such companies as the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Primary Stages, American Stage Company, the National Playwrights’ Conference, the Women’s Project and Productions, New Jersey Repertory, the Shoestring Players (winning the coveted Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe), and Cafe Theater, Inc. in residence at George Street Playhouse. A former cofounder and Artistic Director of the theater company, Pendulum, she directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream (WestBeth Theater Center, Omega Institute, Exodus House, Edinburgh Festival Fringe) and performed in the internationally acclaimed All Hallows Eve (John Houseman Theater, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, NY Fringe Festival). She founded the theater company JOS with her productionGoethe’s Faust (Blue Heron Arts Center, NYC). In 2003, JOS and Jessica Lanius’ company The Wake Up Artists merged to create Theatre LILA. For Theatre LILA she has directed JULIE and WRECKED, and performed in Lanius’ The Waltz of Elementary Particles.  

Andy hails from Cape Cod, Massachusetts where she began performing at the Harwich Junior Theater when she was 10 years old. She traveled internationally through Europe and Russia in an original duet performance piece called Eggs in a Briar Patch, as well as created and performed a one-woman show,The Cry of the Children. Andy has participated in international performance workshops in Paris, Iceland, Amsterdam, and Moscow intensely exploring the work of Jerzy Grotowski, Jacques Lecoq, Joseph Chaikin, Bertolt Brecht, and Commedia dell’Arte. She spent a year in residence with Théâtre du Soleil in Paris in conjunction with the Experimental Theatre Wing, NYU. She received her BFA in drama from the Experimental Theater Wing, New York University and her MFA in directing from Rutgers University. Andy has devoted her life to exploring the power of theatrical storytelling and the question of what makes theater a vital link to our humanity in modern society. Maintaining her belief that theater has the possibility of transforming a community, she is committed to challenging and moving people beyond their everyday realities.

Andy is a certified Executive Presence Senior Consultant with The Ariel Group facilitating programs for clients including Royal Bank of Scotland, Capital One, American Express, General Electric, and United States governmental agencies. She is an Artist-In-Residence at the Somerset County Performing Arts Conservatory where she conceived and directed new works including Exploding Shakespeare, Hamartia’s Children, Alice Underground, Lord of the Flies, and Rivers. She is a certified Feldenkrais “Awareness-Through-Movement” teacher. She was a featured teaching artist in the Annenberg Foundation/CPB channel “The Art of Teaching the Arts” video series. As a teacher, Andy is committed to sparking curiosity in her students to explore the many landscapes of the theatre and to support them in their discovery of themselves as artists and as human beings in the world. Above all else, she believes in creating the safe space in which students are allowed to take giant leaps into the creative unknown.

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