Lavina Jadhwani is a Chicago-based director, adaptor, and activist. She creates work that is well-crafted, rigorously researched, compassionately curated, radically inclusive, and anti-elitist. As a second generation immigrant, Lavina is constantly investigating the question, “What does it mean to be an American?” and through her work, she strives to expand the definition of that word to include more minority voices.
Lavina’s directing credits include work at Asolo Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Mixed Blood Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis), Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, Teatro Vista, Writers Theatre, and Rasaka Theatre Company (where she served as Artistic Director for 6 years). Lavina maintains relationships with Silk Road Rising (Artistic Associate), Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Artistic Engagement Associate), and the National New Play Network (Affiliated Artists Council). She was named Time Out Chicago’s “Best Next Generation Stage Director” in 2013.
Lavina loves language-driven plays, both new and old, from both Eastern and Western canons. Her adaptations include THE SITAYANA (a solo performance piece based on the Hindu epic, The Ramayana), VANYA (adapted from Chekhov), and SHAKUNTALA: AN EAST-MEETS-WEST LOVE STORY (an a cappella musical, adapted from Kalidasa, featuring Bollywood/American pop mashups). Details about Lavina’s writing can be found on the New Play Exchange. As a Casting Director, she has collaborated with Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Hypocrites, Mixed Blood Theatre, Lifeline Theatre, and more.
Lavina is passionate about volunteer work and regularly works with the Masonic Association of Service and Therapy Dogs as a volunteer Assistant Handler.
Lavina is a proud graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University (MFA, Directing), Carnegie Mellon University (BFA, Scenic Design; Masters, Arts Management) and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. SDC Associate since 2012, full member since 2017.
“Lavina is a creatively and politically ambitious young artist — a citizen of the world who brings global reach to everything she produces. In terms of her artistry, Lavina’s work is smart, clear, and dramaturgically vibrant. She works beautifully with both actors and designers. Additionally, and this is often rare in a young director, she works well with everyone — the tech staff, the marketing folks, the design advisors. She is an ambassador for the production.”
– Lisa Portes, Head of MFA Directing, The Theatre School at DePaul University
“The daughter of Indian immigrants, Lavina understands instinctively how to ‘translate’ one cultural context to another. She is quite fluent at identifying cultural markers and assimilating cultural signifiers into a vernacular that makes sense to ‘us.’ Her processes are undoubtedly strengthened by the openness with which she engages ‘difference.’ Lavina absorbs knowledge through a critical filter that is conversational and flexible, not ideological and rigid. She adopts an artistic aesthetic as she strives to reconcile ‘foreignness’ with the familiar and the mundane.”
– Jamil Khoury, Founder/Artistic Director, Silk Road Rising
This website’s design is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.