Press Release: February 4, 2020

Autry Appoints DeLanna Studi as New Leader of Native Voices

Renowned Cherokee Performer & Writer to Further Amplify Native Theatre Company’s National Profile

Los Angeles, CA (February 4, 2020)—The Autry announced today the appointment of DeLanna Studi (Cherokee) as the new Co-Artistic Director of Native Voices. As the only Equity theatre company dedicated exclusively to developing and producing new work by Native American artists, Studi’s hiring furthers the theatre company’s commitment to developing the next generation of indigenous writers, directors, producers, and performers. 

“DeLanna has played many roles, both on and off stage, but the one I am most excited to see her in is Co-Artistic Director of Native Voices,” said W. Richard West, Jr. (Southern Cheyenne), the Autry's President and CEO. “Between her professional achievements and work as an advocate for Native communities, I know that she will continue Native Voices’ mission with the mix of strategic thinking and artistic aplomb she is known for across a range of creative industries.”

“I have had the pleasure of working with DeLanna in her roles as actor and playwright for almost 20 years. It will be wonderful to work with her now as she steps into this new leadership role as Native Voices, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, moves into the next 25 years,” said Randy Reinholz (Choctaw), Producing Artistic Director and Co-founder of Native Voices at the Autry, who will be working alongside Studi over the next few months. “As a nationally recognized theater and a community of artists, Native Voices has achieved so much. Now, it is time to grow in new ways to meet the changing needs and opportunities in front of this generation of artists. DeLanna is ideally situated to seize on the possibilities while leading in pragmatic and strategic ways. Her reputation in the American theatre and the larger entertainment industry means she can continue to build on Native Voices’ unique position of opening doors for Native theatre artists while creating pathways for understanding through telling Native stories.”  

Studi will be joining Producing Artistic Director Reinholz as he transitions—along with co-founder and Producing Executive Director, Jean Bruce Scott—into emeritus roles with Native Voices. Among Studi’s first projects will be overseeing the run of Native Voices’ world premiere of Lying with Badgers, opening February 28. Written by Jason Grasl (Blackfeet), directed by Reinholz, and dramaturged by Courtney Elkin Mohler (Santa Barbara Chumash), this dark comedy—featuring puppets who interact with humans—tells the story of two estranged brothers of the Blackfeet nation.

“As an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation, my work as an artist has been defined by Gadugi, a Cherokee word meaning ‘the coming together of a people to celebrate, support, and promote each other,’” said Studi. “The word Gadugi embodies the spirit of teamwork that I believe can ensure that Native Voices remains a vibrant organization with national stature and global impact. As Co-Artistic Director, I will bring the spirit of Gadugi to co-leading the organization and to empowering the next generation of indigenous artists.”


About DeLanna Studi
DeLanna Studi has over 25 years of experience as a performer, storyteller, educator, facilitator, advocate, and activist. Her theater credits include the First National Broadway Tour of Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning play August: Osage County, Off-Broadway’s Gloria: A Life at the Daryl Roth Theatre, Informed Consent at the Duke Theater on 42nd Street, and Regional Theaters (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage, Cornerstone, and Indiana Repertory Theater). Studi originated roles in over 18 world premieres, including 14 Native productions. A pivotal moment in her career was writing and performing And So We Walked: An Artist’s Journey Along the Trail of Tears, based on retracing her family’s footsteps along the Trail of Tears with her father. And So We Walked has been produced throughout the country, and was the first American play chosen for the Journees Theatricales de Carthage in Tunisia, Africa. In film and television, Studi can be seen in the Peabody Award winning Edge of America, Hallmark’s Dreamkeeper, Goliath, Shameless, and General Hospital. 

She is a recipient of the Butcher Scholar Award, Mapfund Grant, and Cherokee Preservation Grant. Studi has been a part of residencies and workshops at various universities and organizations, including the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program, Brown University/Trinity Repertory Theater, Dartmouth College/Hopkins Center, University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Arizona State University, Gonzaga University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Since 2007, she has served as the chair of the SAG-AFTRA National Native Americans Committee.

About Native Voices at the Autry
Founded in 1994 by Producing Artistic Director Randy Reinholz (Choctaw) and Producing Executive Director Jean Bruce Scott, Native Voices became the resident theatre company at the Autry Museum of the American West in 1999. Native Voices at the Autry is the only Equity theatre company devoted exclusively to developing and producing new works for the stage by Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and First Nations playwrights. The theatre company is committed to putting Native narratives at the center of the American story in order to facilitate a more inclusive dialog on what it means to be American. The company provides a supportive, collaborative setting for Native theatre artists from across North America. In 2014 the company established the Native Voices Artists Ensemble to more fully support the extraordinary talents of its Native actors, writers, producers, musicians, and directors. The Ensemble is devoted to developing new work in a collaborative process as well as supporting Native Voices’ ongoing focus on the work of individual playwrights. Native Voices at the Autry is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, LA Stage Alliance, and the Dramatists Guild, an associate member of the National New Play Network and is a Constituent Theatre of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre. Visit TheAutry.org/NativeVoices for more information.