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Kelsey Leigh Ervi (she/her/hers) is a director and actor living in Chicago, IL. As a director, her work engages in devised theatre, ensemble-driven texts, women’s stories, and work of the queer voice. She is invested in creating collaborative, inclusive spaces that encourage vulnerability while providing a safe and supportive environment in which to explore text, movement, and connection. Kelsey’s work has frequently explored the loss of childhood innocence and how we are able to rediscover that innocence and nurture it to rebirth as adults. She believes theatre is a shared experience between artist and audience, and that the experience can provide both entertainment and thought-provoking conversation.
Kelsey is currently a first year MFA in Directing Candidate at Northwestern University.
Kelsey spent over 7 years living in Dallas, TX where she worked with many DFW theaters including Dallas Theater Center, WaterTower Theatre, Cry Havoc Theater, Stage West, Junior Players, Echo Theatre, Uptown Players, Shakespeare Dallas, Rite of Passage Theatre Company, Festival of Independent Theaters, Shakespeare in the Bar, and Greyman Theatre Company.
From May 2016 to July 2019, Kelsey served as Associate Artistic Director for WaterTower Theatre (WTT) under the leadership of Artistic Director Joanie Schultz (January 2017-December 2018) and Producing Artistic Director Shane Peterman (March 2019-present). She directed many plays for WTT including The Ballad of Little Jo, Everything is Wonderful (2019 DFW Theater Critics Forum Award - Outstanding Director), The Great Distance Home (2018 DFW Theater Critics Forum Award - Outstanding Creative Contribution), The Last Five Years, Silent Sky, Lord of the Flies, and Honky, among others. Previously, Kelsey served as Artistic & Marketing Associate and Assistant to the Producing Artistic Director for WTT.
In addition to her various roles at WTT, Kelsey also served as Producer for the 2018 DETOUR: A Festival of New Work, a 4-day festival that offered public performances of devised work and new play readings from local and national artists. Prior to DETOUR, Kelsey was a Producer for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Out of the Loop Fringe Festival, a 10-day festival that presented theatre, music, spoken word, visual, circus, and dance artists and organizations from across the country.
As an actor, some of Kelsey’s favorite roles include Actor in White Rabbit Red Rabbit and Ensemble in Hair with Dallas Theater Center (D-FW Theater Critics Forum Award - Outstanding Ensemble); Peg in Hit the Wall and Erica in Bright Half Life with WaterTower Theatre; Maria in Mr. Burns, a post-electric play with Stage West (D-FW Theater Critics Forum Award - Outstanding Ensemble); Jane in The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told with Uptown Players; Babette in [sic] with Echo Theatre; and Snout in A Midsummer Night's Dream with Shakespeare in the Bar. Kelsey is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association.