Lorca Peress is a freelance theatre, opera and musical theatre director, and the Founder and Artistic Director of MultiStages in NYC. She is an advocate for women in theatre and an equity diversity activist. Peress is a Union member of SAG-AFTRA, AEA, and SDC; a member of the National Theatre Conference, Women in Arts and Media Coalition, NYWA (New York Women Agenda), and the League of Professional Theatre Women (past co-president 2011-14). She identifies as a multicultural woman with a Puerto Rican, Sephardic Iraqi and Polish background.
MultiStages Founder and Artistic Director
Peress formed MultiStages in 1997, a multidisciplinary, multicultural theatre company whose mission is to develop and produce new works that embrace a fusion of art forms not typically found in theatre. MultiStages has provided platforms for hundreds of multicultural artists to collaborate in an experimental and supportive environment. MultiStages has developed over 40 new works with poets, filmmakers, composers, choreographers, musicians, visual artists, and theatre artists who represent an imaginative and cross-cultural multidisciplinary perspective. Since 1997, over 10,000 New Yorkers have attended MultiStages performances. MultiStages was chosen by the League of Professional Theatre Women to participate in its 30 Plays Series, and has co-produced with Women's Interart Theatre. Awards/Grants: 2019 Creative Engagement Award (LMCC, DCA), 2017 Institute of Puerto Rico Extraordinary Excellence Award, 2017 NYMF Next Link Project, six 2015 Innovative Theatre Nominations, a 2015 and four 2012 HOLA Awards (Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors), 2015 Taíno Areito Award in Drama (indigenous nation of Puerto Rico in NYC), four Manhattan Community Arts Fund Awards (2014, 2012, 2010, 2008 through the LMCC and DCA), Dramatists Guild Fund, N.W. Dible Foundation grants, Jewish Communal Fund grants, and donations from Materials for the Arts through the DCA. MultiStages is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization that receives grants in behalf of MultiStages.
Freelance Directing, and More
Peress has directed new works at Joe's Pub at the Public Theatre, The Acorn at Theatre Row, HERE, International NY Fringe Festival at the Soho Playhouse, Hudson Guild Theatre, Theatre for the New City, NJ Repertory, La MaMa, Repertorio Español, Urban Stages, and others. She directed a special music event for the Lincoln Bicentennial at Riverside Church with Ruby Dee and Sam Waterston, and a concert of the Aids Quilt Song Book at Cooper Union. She has directed university theatre for NYU Tisch, Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, and operas at Queens College for the Aaron Copland School of Music and Drama/Dance Depts. She has also directed three 24 hour plays for her alma mater, Bennington College for the Spencer Cox Memorial Fund and Nicolas Martin Scholarship Fund at the Signature Theatre, Lucille Lortel, and the Public Theatre.
As a writer, Peress received an Innovative Theatre nomination for Outstanding Original Script (as a co-writer for the musical book of "Temple of the Souls"), a playwriting Inky Award from Ellen Stewart at La MaMa with an honorarium from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for her one-woman show "Women Under Glass" which she toured nationally, and is a two-time finalist in the LaMia Ink! One Page Play Festival. She has been a Playwriting Contest Judge for Repertorio Español’s MetLife Nuestras Voces II and III, La Mia Ink! One-Page Play Contests, MultiStages New Works Contests, Lee Strasberg One Act Contests, Ohio State Arts Council, and others.
As a visual artist (puppetry, acrylics, masks, and scenic design), her book illustrations include the cover of “Woven Voices: 3 Generations of Puerto Rican Poets” (2013 International Latino Book Award), and her art appears in several poetry anthologies for Helicon Nine publications.
For many years, Lorca Peress had an eclectic performing career ranging from experimental to A.R. Gurney, and appeared in operettas, new musicals, and as a concert narrator. She perfomed at HERE, Intar, Dixon Place, Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, Repertorio Español, Lambs Theatre, Works by Women, Colleagues Theatre, La MaMa, Missouri Repertory, Stage West, Orlando Opera Company with Roberta Peters, in the American Musical Theatre Fest with Bill Irwin, and concert halls.
Advocacy. From 2011-2014, Peress served as Co-President of the League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW), a not-for-profit advocacy and networking organization with close-to 500 national and international members who collectively reach tens of thousands through their public works. She served on the LPTW board for five years and continues as an advisor to the board on grants and programming, and is the current Chair of Development. She also co-published LPTW's Women In Theatre – International” magazine edition. In the fall of 2013, Peress was invited to be a member of the newly-formed Creative Network for the NY Regional Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA). She has served on Advisory Boards of two not-for-profit theatre companies in New York City: Dramatic Question Theatre which originated in the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Playwrights Lab, and the Spiral Theatre Studio, a green facility focusing on sustainability and the following series “Salt & Pepper” (aging), “Writers of Color,” and “Women Playwrights.” She has served on numerous panels, including NO-PASSPORT (NOPE) Conference on “Dreaming the Americas/ Diversity and Difference in Performance” at the Martin E. Siegel CUNY Graduate Center; NYU Tisch “Performing Across Cultures and Histories,” producing panels for Theatre Resources Unlimited, and a panelist and grant funding judge for the Ohio State Arts Council for film/ theatre projects.
Faculty: Peress has been on the NYU Tisch Undergraduate faculty for the Strasberg Studio since 2001, and teaching at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute since 2000. From 2002-2010, she was the Strasberg Curator for the NYU hotINK Festivals where she produced over 30 world premieres by national and international playwrights, including Susan Yankowitz, Arthur Kopit, and Migdalia Cruz. She has served as a Mentor at the NYC Mayor’s "Conference on Women Mentorship" at Barnard College, was Teacher for the Day at East Bronx Academy for the Future, a featured Guest Speaker at Columbia Teachers College in a Leadership Workshop,