Kelly is an artistic leader who has spent the last 15 years curating, producing, and making theater and performance spanning a range of forms including new plays, site-specific theater, immersive audio experiences, Broadway-bound musicals, and devised work. In 2021 she was appointed the Artistic Director for Oklahoma City Repertory Theater, where she reenvisioned the theater’s mission and values, radically diversified programming, hired a new staff, designed an effective hybrid presenting/producing model, and implemented sliding scale and pay-what-you-can ticket prices for all performances. At OKC Rep, she programs and produces inventive, unconventional, and boundary-pushing work that reimagines what theater can and should be in the middle of the country.
Prior to this appointment, she was at The Public Theater for over four years where she was the Producer for Under the Radar Festival--working with artists from over twenty countries and six continents. She shepherded the Devised Theater Working Group and produced the group’s work-in-progress showings as part of the festival’s Incoming! series. At The Public, she also produced world premiere plays and musicals including Soft Power by David Henry Hwang & Jeanine Tesori, M’lima’s Tale by Lynn Nottage, and Conor McPherson’s Girl from the North Country.
Before The Public, she was on the artistic staff at Yale Repertory Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Atlantic Theater Company, The House Theatre of Chicago, Collaboraction, and she was the co-artistic director for the Yale Cabaret's 46th Season. She's directed productions at Collaboraction, Yale Cabaret, Ars Nova's ANT Fest, and Oklahoma City Rep. She has developed new work with Phillip Howze, Carly Mensch, Amelia Roper, Emily Zemba, and she was the dramaturg on the acclaimed world premiere of Ike Holter's Hit the Wall at Steppenwolf's Garage Rep, which went on to make the Chicago Tribune's "Top Ten Plays" list and had a commercial run at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York.
Kelly believes in championing artists who take risks, blur boundaries, and push against the mainstream. As part of these efforts, she co-founded, with Jane Beachy, Chicago's Salonathon--a weekly series specializing in underground performance. While attending Yale School of Drama, she was a co-founder, deviser, and performer for Guided Tour, a site-specific, immersive live tour event, providing fictional tours of real spaces. In 2016, she received the Mark Bly Creative Capacities Fellowship to support POP! A Pop-Up Performance Festival, which she conceived, curated, and produced. The festival featured brand-new theater experiences by 17 emerging artists in seven spaces (including one automobile!) throughout Bushwick, Brooklyn.
She has been a guest artist and guest lecturer at universities across the country. For the 2020-2021 school year she was a visiting professor at Connecticut College where she redesigned and taught the Theater and Culture courses–expanding the curriculum to be more reflective of our multicultural world. Currently, she’s a Lecturer in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at the Yale School of Drama.
Yale School of Drama, MFA in Dramaturgy/Dramatic Criticism, 2015
The Theatre School at DePaul University, BFA in Dramaturgy/Dramatic Criticism, 2008
Awards and Honors:
405 Business Purpose and Impact Award: Outstanding Nonprofit Innovation, Oklahoma City Repertory Theater, 2022
Kelly was chosen to be part of The Director’s Circle at The Kampnagel Arts Center during their International Performing Arts Festival Hamburg, 2022
Mark Bly Creative Capacities Fellowship to “support artists as they explore and expand the boundaries of dramaturgy in the Americas,” 2015
Pierre-André Salim Prize awarded to one graduating Yale School of Drama student whose “artistry, professionalism, collaborative energy, and commitment to the community have inspired their colleagues, and who show distinct promise of raising the standard of practice in the field,” 2015
Yale Cabaret named “Best Theater” by the New Haven Advocate under leadership, 2014
George Pierce Baker Memorial Scholarship, Yale School of Drama, 2013
Edes Prize for Emerging Artists, Finalist, 2010