Anna C Bahow is a Chicago-based director committed to the development of new work and a diversity of voices. Critical Race theory is a central tenet of her directing work which focuses on creating counter-narratives to institutional prejudice and sexism. Her recently completed master’s thesis argued the need for diversity in both how stories are made and who makes them. Invested in collaboration and creating a space where everyone can do their best work, she is known for developing deeply nuanced performances with her actors. Drawing on her design and visual arts background, she often expands the theatrical experience through design, multimedia, live music, and movement. She is an Artistic Associate with Silk Road Rising which foregrounds Asian, South Asian, and Middle Eastern artists and an Associate Artist with The International Voices Project which brings plays from around the world in translation to Chicago. She is also an Associate Artist at Chicago Dramatists where she has directed and done extensive new play dramaturgy. A new member of Promethean Theatre, she is creating work that explores the role of story in creating identity. This is exemplified by her next directing project, the world premiere of A Town Called Progress by Trina Kakacek which tackles gender stereotypes, economics and the myth of having it all. Bahow has received an After Dark Award for her directing, and her productions have received Chicago JEFF Awards for New Work and Use of Multi-Media. She was honored to have served as the 2011-2012 Michael Maggio Fellow, was a recipient of a 2017 3ARTS WAVE Grant, and 2018 City of Chicago Individual Artist Grant.
Her productions have received JEFF Awards for New Work and Use of Multi-Media. Work includes DETOUR GUIDE for Stage Left Theatre and Silk Road Rising written and performed by Karim Nagi, Mahuri Shekar’s A NICE INDIAN BOY for Rasaka Theatre and the world premiere of BREWED by Scott Barsotti. Bahow's work has appeared on many best of the year lists in Chicago, including 2013's INVASION! (TOP FIVE SHOWS of the year Kerry Reid Chicago Tribune) In 2016 she developed ZIRYAB with writer, musician and actor Ronnie Malley, traveled Italy to study with master directors at La Mama Umbria and directed and traveled with MY SWEET LAND by Amir Nizar Zuabi for Silk Road Rising, which was presented at London's Nour Festival 2016 and Toronto's Agha Khan Museum.
Other directing work includes: Comrades Mine with City Lit, REWIND by award-winning playwright Laura Eason, The Rocks by Mark Young (JEFF Recommended - the side project), JEFF Nominated Odin's Horse with Infamous Commonwealth, (TOP SHOWS of the Year, Chicago Tribune) and Sweet Confinement with SiNNERMAN Ensemble (AFTER DARK AWARDS: New Work, Ensemble, Set and Direction). MS. Bahow has also directed Broadway playwright Keith Huff’s Gray City with PTP, the critically acclaimed New Orleans with the side project (TOP FIVE FRINGE Shows of the Year Chicago Tribune, the JEFF Recommended Martin Furey's Shot with Timeline Theatre (special JEFF use of Multi Media) and Vintage Red and the Dust of the Road (JEFF Citation New Work, Steinberg Nominee Best New Work Produced Outside NY with Visions and Voices, producers).
Fostering new work, Ms. Bahow has directed workshops and staged readings with Chicago Dramatists, Victory Gardens, Silk Road, American Theatre Company, Stage Left, and the side project among others. She is a past Program Director for the Women’s Theatre Alliance’s New Play Development Workshop and Festival in Chicago – which is dedicated to early career women playwrights.
As an educator, Ms. Bahow has taught playwriting in the Chicago Public schools for Chicago Dramatists, has conducted workshops at Lake Forest College with Victory Gardens Theatre, has served as a guest artist at Southern Illinois University and as an adjudicator for Dayton Playhouse’s National New Play Festival. She has worked with the Access Project at Victory Gardens as a director and producer for the Cripslam Showcase - a program which is open to people with disabilities.
Interested in multi-media, Ms. Bahow has shot photos for her own shows as well as for other theatre artists in Chicago. She has studied filmmaking at Columbia College, has production-assisted for independent films and has directed her own short films.
She has regularly been recognized in the press for her theatre direction. “Anna C. Bahow is a director of immense skill and subtlety, with an impeccable eye for casting, and a gift for finding the action in a play about the mind and the heart.” Chicago Sun Times