Halena Kays is an assistant professor at Northwestern University where she works with MFA actors and directors. She is based in Chicago where she is a founding member of the artistic collaborative, The Ruffians, former member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit, past artistic director of The Hypocrites, former co-artistic curator for Theater on the Lake, and co-founder and former artistic director of Barrel of Monkeys.

Halena is an Artistic Associate with the Neo-Futurists where she directed Comfortable Shoes, Pop/Waits, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Burning Bluebeard, Daredevils, Daredevils Hamlet and Fake Lake. Selected Chicago directing credits: Endgame, Ivywild, Six Characters in Search of an Author (The Hypocrites); The Magic Play (The Goodman), Lord of the Flies (Steppenwolf); How a Boy Falls (Northlight Theatre); On Clover Road (American Blues Theater); Feast (part of a collaborative directing effort) with The Albany Park Theatre Project (The Goodman). Regionally Halena has directed The Magic Play (The Olney Theater Center, The Actor’s Theater of Louisville, Portland Center Stage and Syracuse Stage), Love Song (Nashville Story Garden), and Secretary (Nashville Rep’s Ingram New Works Festival).

Halena has been nominated for Jefferson awards for Best Supporting Actress, Best Direction, Best New Work, and Best Production, 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 is a UT-Austin and Northwestern grad, and assistant professor of acting and directing at Northwestern University. Proud member, SDC.