Cole Lewis (she/her) is a theatre artist, educator, and Mom. She specializes in creating live performance from design ideas, exploring new modes of storytelling, and fusing technologies to the stage. Her practice includes directing, playwriting, and the design of moving image works. She has an MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama, is the Co-Artistic Director of Guilty by Association, and the current Director of the Acting Program.
Cole teaches acting, directing, and new creation. She believes it is a big responsibility to set the aesthetic standard for the life of a young artist and provide the profession with dynamic and original leaders in the field. It is a responsibility she doesn’t take lightly. She empowers her students to reach their full capacity as smart, thinking, citizen-artists. Artists who are keen and empathetic observers of the world. Artists who are deeply curious about all aspects of human nature. Artists who are free from fear. Artists who make and/or perform work that is necessary today. Cole’s students have performed or directed at: Shaw Festival, Arts Club, Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, Banff Theatre, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, PuSH Festival, Theatre Centre, Crow’s Theatre. Her students can also be seen performing on Apple TV, The CW, Global TV, CBC Gem, Hallmark, and Lionsgate.
Twice-nominated for Dora Awards, Cole’s artistic practice uses humour, design, and technology, to explore notions of violence, expose questions of bias, and unsettle standard conceptions of ‘truth’. Select credits: Writing/Directing/Performing the Dora-nominated moving image performance of 1991 for Why Not Theatre’s RISER Projects. Adapting Kyo Maclear’s Virginia Wolf for Geordie Theatre. Co-writing/originating the Direction of the Dora-nominated Keith Richards: The One Woman Show. Directing Canada’s largest wearable art show, STRUTT. Devising/Directing Redshift Music Society’s immersive experience Still Life Continuum at Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre. Upcoming: Seed commissioned by Stratford to write Untitled Nurse Project. Disparate, divergent, and wide-ranging, Cole’s works question received ideas about identity, violence, and systems of oppression to explore alternative futures.
The Visits, co-created by Patrick Blenkarn, Lauren Dubowski, and Cole Lewis. Led by Cole Lewis, Yale Center for Collaborative Arts and Media, August 2022.
The Kids Are Alright by Cole Lewis and Iris O’Neill, commissioned by Kelly Kerwin, Salonathon, May 2020
The Gratefuls: A Storyboard for a Live Animation Performance by Cole Lewis, Convergence Theatre, April 2020
Awkward Conversations, directed by Chelsea Hunter, created by Marcus Youssef and Sarah Stanley, PuSH Festival, July 2018 and January 2019
Untitled Naufus Project, directed by Cole Lewis, PuSH Festival with The Audain Gallery and SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts, January 2019
Still Life Continuum, theatrical direction by Cole Lewis, Redshift Music Society with SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts, Vancouver’s Civic Theatre, Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, December 2018
the hair produced the desired effect by Cole Lewis, Ryan Campbell and Sam Ferguson, [a sound installation], Yale Art Gallery for ‘Gallery + Drama’, April 2013
King Lear’s Edgar by Cole Lewis, [an interactive performance piece], Yale Center for British Art for ‘The Director’s Vision’, December 2012
Strutt Wearable Art, directed by Cole Lewis, [a wearable art fashion show], Niagara Artists Centre, November 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010
Howling Winds by Juan Carlos Velis, Workshop Presentation, Essential Collective Theatre, December 2022
Sister Warriors by Roselyn Kaleda-Sedra, Workshop Presentation, In the Soil Festival, July 2022
The Gull adapted by Cole Lewis & written by Anton Chekhov, Toronto Metropolitan University, November 2021
1991 written by Cole Lewis, Why Not Theatre’s RISER Festival with a subsequent tour to In The Soil Festival, May/June 2019, Workshop Presentation through SFU Faculty
Research Presentation Series, September 2018, Workshop Presentation through Storefront Theatre’s Feminist Fuck It Festival, April 2018
these violent delights conceived and written by Cole Lewis, SummerWorks Performance Festival, August 2017
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts, March 2017
Moderato Cantabile by Marguerite Duras and adapted by Cole Lewis, SummerWorks Performance Festival, August 2015
Cardboard Piano by Hansol Jung, Eugene O’Neill Center, Staged Reading, July 2015
Keith Richards One Woman Show by Dee Jones and Cole Lewis, High Performance Rodeo, February 2015
Chester by Carrie Felices-Costello, Castlemoon Productions, October 2014 - February 2015
Antigonick by Anne Carson, Guilty By Association, SummerWorks Performance Festival, August 2014
Ain’t Gonna Make It devised by Guilty By Association, Ars Nova’s AntFest, June 2014
Cardboard Piano by Hansol Jung, Carlotta Festival, May 2014
The Small Room At The Top Of The Stairs by Carole Frechette, Yale Cabaret, February 2014
Derivatives by Ensemble, Yale Cabaret, November 2013
The Visit by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Yale School of Drama, October 2013
The Ugly One by Marius von Mayenburg, Yale Cabaret, April 2013
Romeo And Juliet by William Shakespeare, Yale School of Drama, February 2013
An Almanac for Farmers and Lovers in Mexico by Kate Tarker, Yale School of Drama, October 2012
The Snail And The Whale, by Carrie Felices-Costello, Castlemoon Productions, July 2012
Downtown Stupor by Suitcase In Point, Carousel Players, October 2010
Ministry of Love by Ensemble, Theatre Rien Pantoute, July 2009
The Corporate Western by Cole Lewis and ensemble, Suitcase In Point, March 2008
BeWearing Wolf by Erin Shields and Dee Jones, Harbourfront Theatre Festival, March 2004
Aging Pantomime, by Jenn Forgie and Cole Lewis, in development with support from Nightwood Theatre’s Stromberg Family Realization Fund, 2022.
The Gull, adapted by Cole Lewis & written by Anton Chekhov, TMU, November 2021
Untitled Nurse Project, seed commissioned for development by Stratford Festival, 2019
Virginia Wolf, an adaptation of Kyo Maclear’s Virginia Wolf, workshopped at Carousel Players, July 2016 and July 2017, programmed to premiere at Montreal’s Geordie Theatre 2020
Lost and Found, an adaptation of Oliver Jeffer’s Lost and Found, workshopped at Carousel Players, July 2012, July 2013 and June 2014
I Know Angelo, produced by Suitcase In Point, September 2008
Looking For George, produced by Suitcase In Point, September 2008
Call To Mind, produce by Suitcase In Point, June 2002
“Approaches to Sustaining the Stage: Planetary Performance” by Cole Lewis. Canadian Theatre Review, Vol. 194, Article accepted, to be published Spring 2023.
“Practice and Research: A Report from the Academy” by Patrick Blenkarn, Cole Lewis, and Ker Wells. Canadian Theatre Review, Vol. 172, Fall 2017, pp. 63-67.
National Alliance of Acting Teachers (USA)
Canadian Playwrights Guild
Stage Directors and Choreographers Guild (USA)
Canadian Guild of Stage Directors and Choreographers