Inspirare Theatre · 630-531-0000


About Laura Lewis-Barr, Inspirare Theatre Founder...

Laura.Laura Lewis-Barr has been writing, directing, performing and teaching theatre for over 20 years.

Laura graduated with a B.A. in Theatre from Northeastern Illinois where she was on a four-year performance scholarship. After college Laura performed in local storefronts and spent several years doing musicals and improv with Chicago's Night Light Playhouse.

While producing and directing in California, Laura studied for her Masters in Drama at San Francisco State University with a focus on actor coaching. Laura's thesis project explored the use of stylized movement in the rehearsal process. She worked with her actors for months performing Indian postures to see their effect on actor "focus" and "stage presence."

Her studies in a PhD program at UC Davis also investigated the power of physical disciplines on actor training. Laura studied the work of Grotowski and the Russian director V. Meyerhold.

Laura taught theatre and directed for over ten years in California and Illinois. Most recently she was Artistic Director/Theatre Professor at Sauk Valley College.

In recent years Laura has focused more on playwriting and less on directing -- but the need to direct persists. It is a tough balancing act which she discussing in her bio on the Directors/Playwrights Alliance of Chicago website.

Laura's play Darwin's Dilemma was a winner in the St. Tammany One-Act Competition and was read at their 2005 festival. Her play Addicted to Mars was featured in the Pittsburg New Works Festival in September, 2005. ("...intriguing and carefully drawn..." -- Post Gazette 9/12/05 [scroll down to second review])

Her play Golden Chalices was recently seen at Love Creek Productions and The Riant Theatre's "Strawberry Festival" in New York. Her Dove Killers was produced through The Side Project in Chicago ("...riveting story..." -- Windy City Times 8/18/04)

Chernobyl's Fire and Cloistered Honey (formerly entitled Abelard and Heloise) were recently named Finalists in the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre New Plays Contest. Additionally, Chernobyl's Fire won the Playwrights First Award and was read in New York last fall. It has also had readings through Chicago Dramatists and the Women's Theatre Alliance, and was a finalist in the O'Neill Theatre Center National Playwrights Conference Competition.

A dozen other plays, including A Fly's Eye, The Vase, and The Dangers of Catnip have had readings and productions in Chicago and California.

What the critics have written about Laura Lewis-Barr's work --

  • "Earnest, funny, introspective" --Daily Herald
  • "Dreamlike ... most ambitious piece"
    --Michael Phillips, San Diego Union Tribune
  • "Riveting" --Rick Reed, Windy City Times
  • "Sophisticated ... funny ... both characters are intriguing and carefully drawn. Lewis-Barr's writing drives the production
    --Anna Rosenstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette · 630-531-0000

Inspirare (Latin) from in- + spirare to breathe -- archaic: to infuse (as life) by breathing.
Inspiration -- the act of drawing in; specifically: the drawing of air into the lungs, the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions, breathing-in divine energies. · Updated September 3, 2006