Lisa DiFranza has an expansive background directing and developing new work for the theater, in professional, community-based and educational settings. She is currently working on The Living News Project, and recently produced SHELTER/CHICAGO, writtenin collaboration with students and faculty at Columbia College Chicago, Chicago area journalists, theater artists, and staff and residents at Cornerstone Community Outreach, a homeless shelter in the city's Uptown neighborhood.
Before coming to Chicago, Lisa was an Affiliate Artist at Portland Stage Company (PSC) in Maine, where she has served as Literary Manager and Education Director, directed main-stage productions and produced numerous festivals of new plays. In 2002, she edited and wrote the introduction to a collection of plays that emerged from her work at PSC (see introduction above). Lisa has had alongstanding partnership with the International Writing Program (IWP) at University of Iowa, collaborating with writers from all over the world. There, she also directed “Leaner than Light: 12 Frames of Paul Engle,” a joint production between the University Theater Department and the IWP, funded by Humanities Iowa. She also created an audio/visual version of this work which can be seen on the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature site (scroll to 2011 Paul Engle Day).
Previously, Lisa worked on new plays at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, The Juilliard School, and Ensemble Studio Theater. At Columbia College Chicago, Lisa has received Faculty Development grants for The Living News Project, and for collaborative work with playwright Lisa Schlesinger. She has also contributed to the development of numerous new plays by students. She is the recipient of the 2014 Columbia College Chicago Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Award for creative work and the 2012-13 recipient of the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies Luce Fellowship for her new work on THE LIVING NEWS Project