Lavina Jadhwani is a Chicago-based director and adaptor. Favorite credits include Gruesome Playground Injuries, Much Ado About Nothing, and Yoni Ki Baat (Rasaka Theatre Company), Romeo and Juliet (Teatro Vista), Cherry Smoke (the side project), Hamlet and Twelfth Night (Oak Park Festival Theatre), and Julius Caesar (Brown Paper Box Co.). Lavina maintains relationships with Lifeline Theatre (Casting Director), Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Phil Killian Directing Fellow), Silk Road Rising (Artistic Associate), and Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Artistic Engagement Associate). She is the founder and curator of the Diverse Directors Database and The Mildly Rehearsed Players, a student-run troupe at DePaul University that performs Shakespeare based on original practices. She was named Time Out Chicago’s “Best Next Generation Stage Director” in 2013.

Lavina has received Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Phil Killian Directing Fellowship, the O’Neill/NNPN National Directors Fellowship, the Drama League’s Classical Directing Fellowship, an SDCF Observership, an Illinois Board of Higher Education Fellowship, and an LMDA Residency Award. Her adaptations include The Sitayana (a solo performance piece based on the Hindu epic, The Ramayana). VANYA (adapted from Chekhov), and Shakuntala: An East-Meets-West Love Story (adapted from Kalidasa). Details about Lavina’s writing can be found on the New Play Exchange.

As an educator, Lavina has worked with CCPA@Roosevelt University, Chicago Dramatists, Northlight Theatre Academy, NHSI at Northwestern University, Shakespeare & Company, and The Viola Project. She currently teaches and provides 1:1 coaching through Green Shirt Studio. Discounted coaching is available to recent alum of Lavina’s alma maters (Carnegie Mellon, DePaul) and to members of ALTA Chicago. If you are an artist in need, please ask about her sliding-scale rates!

Lavina is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University (MFA, Directing), Carnegie Mellon University (BFA, Scenic Design; Masters, Arts Management) and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. In her spare time, she follows NFL football, consumes anything written by Aaron Sorkin, and dabbles in voiceover. Proudly represented by NV Talent.


“Lavina is a creatively and politically ambitious young artist — a citizen of the world who brings global reach to everything she produces. In terms of her artistry, Lavina’s work is smart, clear, and dramaturgically vibrant. She works beautifully with both actors and designers. Additionally, and this is often rare in a young director, she works well with everyone — the tech staff, the marketing folks, the design advisors. She is an ambassador for the production.”
– Lisa Portes, Head of MFA Directing, The Theatre School at DePaul University

“The daughter of Indian immigrants, Lavina understands instinctively how to ‘translate’ one cultural context to another. She is quite fluent at identifying cultural markers and assimilating cultural signifiers into a vernacular that makes sense to ‘us.’ Her processes are undoubtedly strengthened by the openness with which she engages ‘difference.’ Lavina absorbs knowledge through a critical filter that is conversational and flexible, not ideological and rigid. She adopts an artistic aesthetic as she strives to reconcile ‘foreignness’ with the familiar and the mundane.”
– Jamil Khoury, Founder/Artistic Director, Silk Road Rising

“Lavina’s greatest strength as a director is her unmatched analytical mind. She approaches a play both from the outside—analyzing the rules of each play’s world and understanding its structure—and from the inside, getting to know the people who populate that world. She is a writer’s director with impeccable dramaturgical understanding of how to shape a work in progress.”
– Kristin Idaszak, Playwright

This website’s design is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.