Hi! I'm Anna, and this is my website...
...where I've attempted to translate my entire essence into an aesthetically-pleasing, easily-digestible digital space. Welcome, and thank you for being here!
Let's start with the basics. Born: California, the middle part. College: Chicago (BA in Creative Writing and Theater from Northwestern University). Grad School: Providence, RI (MFA from Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company's Programs in Acting and Directing). Now: Back to California, this time the Southern part, where I live in over-decorated boho bliss(ish) with my partner and my two cats. For more traditional bio information, you can read my writing bio here, my directing resume here, and my acting resume here.
I spent most of my life pursuing a career in acting, a pursuit which spanned from childhood youth theater productions, to regional theater, to college, to grad school, to summer stock, back to grad school, back to regional theater, to elementary school multipurpose rooms, to medical school labs, to the Hyperion Theater at Disneyland, and to my agency, Firestarter Entertainment, with lots of artsy self-produced work in between. I've been lucky to be able make my living through performing throughout my adult years. But while I'm not giving up acting completely, I'm now in the process of shifting my focus primarily to directing- a pursuit which has also been with me from childhood to Disneyland, but which I didn't fully embrace until 2017, when I directed a production of Daddy Long Legs: The Musical in LA, and realized that not only was I most fully myself when behind the table, but that there, I also had a lot more to offer the theater- and the world.
This is already very long, which is actually a very accurate representation of my essence. I have a lot racing around in my mind. I have a lot to say. I try to say it in a way that sounds cohesive and appealing and unique.
So by now, I've directed many more plays, several storytelling and cabaret events, some film and some multimedia projects. I've founded an LA-based feminist artist collective and theater company called Beating of Wings. I've honed all the things I have to say, all the thoughts I have, and all my inclinations toward cohesion and uniqueness into a strong, innovative, and unique directorial voice. I value extreme rigor and precision with all my storytelling decisions: every element of every piece must be specifically and consciously serving the story. I balance the macro with the micro, the vision with the details. I find new and innovative ways of using text, of using setting and architecture, of using movement to find new ways to create new stories, and to celebrate the voices that have been singing out since the beginning of time, but which have not yet been adequately celebrated. I create stunning visual images with human bodies and with space, often with very little resources- I'm scrappy and creative, and I can make beauty from nothing (but even more beauty with something). I run my rehearsal rooms with a spirit of respect, openness, and collaboration. Most importantly, I remain always committed to telling stories that are vital to the world- stories that have the capacity to inspire and create meaningful change. Storytelling is a high calling. It is a historical calling. I feel a great responsibility to perform this calling in the best and most thoughtful way possible.
If you have a job for a director, I think you should hire me. I think it would be an amazing experience for both of us.
And if you're interested in collaborating on something new- that would be the most amazing thing of all.
I'll take any acting, singing, and writing gigs you may have to offer too.
No dancing though. I really can't dance.
From the Inside, Out
From the Outside, In
Lucia Joyce, Collaborator, Beating of Wings Company Member, and Cast Member of A Sad Tale's Best for Winter shares her experiences
The women-driven, LA-based theatre company, Beating of Wings Collective, found its way into my heart so quickly and unconventionally that I was still in quiet awe of the whole experience long after the applause ended and the chairs were put away.
I'm smiling at the remarkable timing and joyful buzz of this opportunity, even now.
In the land of Hollywood gatekeepers, depressingly specific casting breakdowns, and packed audition calls, I booked a role in a full-length, feminist reimagining of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale retitled: A Sad Tale's Best For Winter, and sporting original choreography and music.
Director/Playwright Anna Miles, a kind, driven, and sharp-witted creative, offered me the job through a friend's name-drop and a perusal of my website (Thanks Wix!). We met over breakfast in the NoHo Arts District, discussing typical theatre preconceptions and the ambitious dreams she had for Beating of Wings and the Sad Tale project. My first art language being dance, and Anna's being theatre/song, we connected over mutual admiration for both art forms (and a really good scone). I felt a silent, shared trust of each other's passion and dedication. Anna was featuring choreography and hiring a more dance-minded actor for the first time. I was jumping from commercial dance gigs and classically misogynist musicals straight into her indie, experimental theatre with Shakespearean text and A-cappella soundscapes. A scone was eaten, a bond was forged, and the excitement was palpable.
Over the course of three weeks, our team of versatile artists fused harmonic melodies, challenging monologues, extensive prop work, and visceral movement in one 2.5 hour performance on a Sunday in November.
We were billed as a staged reading, but as the play went on, lighting, sound, costumes, and clever original dialogue transformed our office-like studio space into something other worldly. Script pages were torn and littered across the staging area, to be replaced by flowers in the second act. The corseted, oppressed women of the court became barefoot songstresses in a warmer, freer place. The story didn't just reveal the consequences of toxic masculinity and female oppression...
...it also uncovered the flaws of an all-out dismissal of men and what they've built. There were moments of intense grief and childlike awe. There were genuine laughs and friendly jabs at the current social norms, as well as the upturned expectations of a Shakespearean theatre experience. The costumes were hand sewn; each prop movement a mulled-over decision that reflected back on the story (we were traveling between worlds, after all). A bucket of mud served as a sticky reminder of where we all came from, and where we all eventually return.My general impression? It was awesome. The people and project were a much-needed departure from the usual commercial dance rooms (or my guilty avoidance of them). I was diving in with my fresh acting/song training and all the discipline I carry with me from a dozen years in production shows of all types. It felt wildly refreshing to be part of something so off the beaten track (No high kicks? No winks to the 4th wall? Wha?!) And...it just plain felt good to bring in a diverse set of skills and to take in the talent of my lovely peers. I want to thank Anna and the entire cast and crew of Sad Tale for taking a chance on me, for using me as dance captain, and for inviting me into the Beating of Wings Collective.
Review: A Sad Tale's Best for Winter
by Miranda Johnson-Haddad
As a Shakespeare academic who focuses on Performance Studies, and therefore also a veteran of many productions of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, I was excited about seeing the workshop performance by Beating of Wings of their play A Sad Tale’s Best for Winter. Although I had been intrigued by what I’d learned about the play, the workshop performance completely surpassed my expectations. I was very impressed by the staging of the first half of the play, which is more directly Shakespearean than the second half, for its thought-provoking innovations, which reflect the company’s confidence in performing Shakespeare, and which shed new light on this enigmatic late Romance. But the second half took me utterly by surprise with its creative reimagining of an alternative yet thoroughly integrated storyline for Shakespeare’s female characters as they appear in the second half of the original play. This alternate version resolves much of the lingering uneasiness that twenty-first century audiences may understandably experience when watching Shakespeare’s play; and it is a measure of the sensitivity and intelligent awareness of Sad Tale’s author and of the company’s cast and creatives that the modern reframing feels like a natural extension of Shakespeare’s Romance – an homage and an exploration, rather than a criticism. I was especially delighted in the second half of Sad Tale by the judicious inclusion of many lines from Shakespeare’s other plays, an inclusion that is indicative of the author’s and the company’s well-informed understanding of Shakespeare; and while a recognition of these passages will certainly enhance the pleasure felt by Shakespeare fans in any audience, that level of familiarity with Shakespeare is by no means required to enjoy Sad Tale or to appreciate its deeper message. Sad Tale is the rare Shakespearean-inspired play that is certain to appeal to both the specialist and the non-specialist alike, for it takes the inherent theatricality of Shakespeare’s play – a theatricality that can be both gratifying and challenging to realize fully onstage – and fearlessly embraces and then boldly runs with that very theatricality. A Sad Tale’s Best for Winter deserves a wider audience. I look forward to seeing where Beating of Wings is able to take their thoughtful and thought-provoking play in its future development.