JoAnne Akalaitis is an Lithuanian American theatre director and a writer and the winner of five Obie Awards for direction and founder of the critically acclaimed Mabou Mines in New York, from which she resigned after twenty years in June 1990.
Akalaitis was pre-med and studied philosophy at the University of Chicago. After choosing acting as a career, she also studied with the Actor's Workshop in San Francisco, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, The Open Theater Workshop in New York, and acting theorist Jerzy Grotowski in France. Additionally, as a Mabou Mines founder, she conducted workshops in Mabouâ€™s acting technique.
In addition to the American Repertory Theater - where she has directed Endgame, The Balcony and The Birthday Party - she has staged works by Euripides, Shakespeare, Strindberg, Schiller, Tennessee Williams, Philip Glass, JanÃ¡Äek, and her own work at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City Opera, Goodman Theatre, Hartford Stage, Mark Taper Forum, Court Theatre, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and The Guthrie Theater. She is the former artistic director of the New York Shakespeare Festival and was artist in residence at the Court Theatre.