Glitterlens is the online photographic gallery of New York City-based artist Gabriel Shanks. Trained in theatre arts and creative writing, Gabriel discovered a passion for photography in 2007.
GABRIEL SHANKS is a stage director, writer, photographer, arts leader and teacher. He has directed over fifty theatrical productions across the United States and Europe, and is the author of 17 plays. Born in Athens, Georgia, he began his career as a performer, winning Best Actor at the Southeastern Theatre Conference for his portrayal of Jean in Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. He made his professional theater debut at the age of 18, playing a young Tennessee Williams at 7 Stages Performing Arts Center in Atlanta.
Gabriel became the Artistic Associate of OutProud Theater in 1989, and the Artistic Director of Theatre Conspiracy at the District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC) in 1993. Having made his home in New York City since 1998, he is the Executive Director of The Drama League of New York, one of the nation’s most prestigious development organizations for artists, audiences, and new plays. In 2013, he opened The Drama League Theater Center, a multi-disciplinary arts hub in Tribeca, which serves over 3,000 artists each year. At the Center, he launched the first-ever Resident Artist program, which supports the development of dozens of plays and musicals each season. He also expanded the organization’s fellowship programs, launching new programs in classical theater, musical theater, and international/global theatre collaborations in China, Romania, Bulgaria, and elsewhere.
One of the directors of Peculiar Works Project’s Village Fragments (2007 OBIE Award), Gabriel has directed productions at HERE, the New Ohio, The Bushwick Starr, Ars Nova, Dixon Place, The Red Room, CAP21, Abingdon Theatre Complex, The Brick, Bank Street Theatre, The NYC Fringe Festival, the Arthur Seelen Theatre, Peculiar Works Project, the Independent Theater, New Georges and at Judson House (NYC); A Contemporary Theatre/ACT (Seattle); Theatre Project,14 Karat Cabaret, and AXIS Theatre (Baltimore); Arena Stage, Source Theatre Company, Theatre Conspiracy, DCAC, Tavern Stage and the Corcoran Gallery (Washington,DC); OutProud Theatre, 14th Street Playhouse, and Seven Stages (Atlanta); and venues in Dallas, Philadelphia, Chicago, Vienna and Budapest, among others. He has directed area and world premieres by Theresa Rebeck, Brad Fraser, Gretchen Michelfeld, Daniel MacIvor, and Michael Hollinger.
In 2014, he collaborated with 24 Bulgarian and American artists on the world premiere of a site-specific promenade performance for the Varna International Theatre Festival; in 2015, he partnered with Obie Award Winner Clare Barron and Drama Desk Nominee Lila Neugebauer for a first-ever New Play Laboratory at the Teatrul de Comedie in Bucharest, Romania. Upcoming productions include BE NEAR ME WHEN MY LIGHT IS LOW with Built4Collapse; NOBODY EVER BRINGS ANYTHING SMALL INTO A BAR with Peculiar Works Project; and SUPERCOLLIDER, a collaboration with Chantal Pavageaux, Sam Pinkleton and Slats.
Gabriel co-wrote and directed the large-scale world premiere of IMMORTAL: THE GILGAMESH VARIATIONS, which received rave reviews, SRO audiences, and was named a “Theater Best Bet” by Time Out/New York. As artistic director for two seasons at Creative Mechanics, he devised the performance installations BETTER AND WORSE (StART Series, NYC), IN PRAISE OF FOLLY: STEALING PEARS (The Don Quixote Project, Peculiar Works, NYC), and directed revivals of Steven Berkoff’s FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (Ten Best NYC Productions of 2004, Backstage), Brecht’s EDWARD II, and Frank Blocker’s SOUTHERN GOTHIC NOVEL, which was selected for the 2004 National Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival. He also produced two short-work festivals, Free:Space and Stage This!, supporting the work of hundreds of artists and companies. Gabriel is the former artistic director of the Baltimore-based art ensemble Funkopolis, where he conceived and directed PIERCED, 3 STORIES TO THE GROUND, RITE #55/WONDERWALL ELEGY and BOCHENSKI’S BRAIN, as well as Brad Fraser’s POOR SUPER MAN, chosen as one of the Five Best Productions of the Year by Baltimore City Paper and the Baltimore Alternative. For 3 STORIES TO THE GROUND, Gabriel received the Theatre Project Honor for Outstanding Vision in the Theatre.
Gabriel’s plays have been seen in dozens of productions in the U.S., Vienna, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires. He is the recipient of the Maxim Mazumdar New Play Award and the Southern Young Playwrights Award, among others. His short autobiographical play OVERANALYSIS was chosen as one of the “Best Short Plays of All Time” by City Theatre, and has been produced in almost every major city in the United States, as well as Japan and Argentina. In New York, it has been performed in three separate incarnations.
Gabriel is on the adjunct faculty at Pace University, and has led master classes, workshops and guest lectured at Ithaca College, Towson University, Muhlenberg College, the University of Maryland, Rutgers University, Union College, Abrons Arts Center, Theatre Outlet, the American Corner Sofia, the Independent Theatre Festival of Bulgaria, and more. He received his B.F.A. from Georgia State University and his M.F.A. from Towson University.
Gabriel previously held leadership positions at George Street Playhouse, Alliance Theatre Company, Baltimore Theatre Project and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. He was honored with commendations by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, and has received commissions and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Peculiar Works Project (NYC), North 4th Arts (New Mexico), and elsewhere.