News & Announcements

Chautauqua Theater Company Announces Stori Ayers as new Associate Artistic Director

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC), under the leadership of Artistic Director Andrew Borba and Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy, today announced the appointment of Stori Ayers as Associate Artistic Director. 

Ayers has been an integral part of the CTC community since 2017, first arriving as a guest actor in Detroit ’67, and returning in 2018 and 2019 as assistant director on An Octoroon, Into the Breeches! and One Man, Two Guvnors. In 2019, she also appeared in CTC’s production of The Christians. For CTC’s virtual 2020 Season, Ayers became the Conservatory Liaison, overseeing a conservatory of 33 actors and designers as well as teaching. In her new role as Associate Artistic Director, Ayers will work with Borba on planning future seasons; inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) work; and conservatory growth. She will also continue to direct and act.

Storileadership“We are overjoyed to announce that Stori Ayers will be joining our Artistic Team and Senior Staff,” said Borba and Corporandy. “She has been an important part of the fabric of this company for four years now. Her artistry and investment in the future of American Theater is singular, infectious and profound, and her new leadership role is the natural next step in her relationship with CTC and Chautauqua Institution.” 

“It is with great pleasure and a sense of duty that I step into this role at CTC,” Ayers said. “I didn’t seek out artistic leadership at Chautauqua, but when Andrew came to me with the offer, I felt a sense of responsibility to serve the theater, the Institution and the Chautauqua community. I simply can’t wait to begin working with Andrew and Sarah Clare in this new capacity. They have always been the core reason I return every year. Both of them exemplify a kind of leadership steeped in humility and compassion that I admire and respect. We are the Dream Team!”

Ayers is an actress, director and writing assistant to Dominique Morisseau. She is also an adjunct professor at Penn State University, and currently serves as the Artistic Directing Fellow at the Cleveland Play House. 

“Stori has become a staple at Chautauqua,” said Michael E. Hill, president of Chautauqua Institution. “Whether on stage, during post-show discussions or around the grounds, she has been a valuable and cherished member of our community. I cannot wait to see what she brings to this new role at CTC.”

Stori Ayers HeadshotStori Ayers Bio

Stori Ayers is a New York-based actress, director and co-founder of [RARE] Lotus Productions. Originally from Washington, DC., she has a passion for stories that challenge social norms, create conversations in the community, and ignite within her generation a spirit of activism. Stori is an original cast member and producer of Dominique Morisseau’s Blood at the Root, winner of the Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation Prize for its promotion of human rights. She recently played Regina, childhood best friend of Tiffany Haddish, on the TBS hit series The Last O.G. starring Tracey Morgan. Other acting credits include: Travisville (Ensemble Studio Theatre, NYC); A Raisin in the Sun (Indiana Repertory Theatre & Syracuse Stage); Jitney (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park); The Christians; Detroit '67 (Chautauqua Theater Company); Gem of the Ocean; Father Comes Home From the Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3 (Round House Theatre); Doubt; Barbecue; Love's Labours Lost; In the Red and Brown Water (Pennsylvania Centre Stage); Foster Mom (Premiere Stages); Yellowman (Anacostia Playhouse); Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre, Pennsylvania Centre Stage, Grahamstown Fringe Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival) and An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein; Voodoo, Sex, & Magic (Horizon Theatre).

As a director, Stori assistant directed the world premiere of August Wilson's one-man show, "How I Learned What I Learned," at the Signature Theatre in New York City starring Ruben Santiago-Hudson. She was the 2018 & 2019 Directing Fellow at Chautauqua Theater Company where she assistant directed An Octoroon (Dir. Giovanna Sardelli), Into the Breeches (Dir. Laura Kepley), One Man Two Guvnors (Dir. Andrew Borba) and Amish Project (Dir. Sarah Wansley). Other directing credits include: Skeleton Crew (Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati); Night Vision; Third Grade (Playing On Air); Blood at the Root (University of Michigan); Single Black Female (Penn State School of Theatre); Hip Hoperella; Here I Go, Boys. Wish Me Luck; and Fires in the Mirror (Fletcher Collins Theatre). Currently, Stori is serving as the Artistic Directing Fellow at Cleveland Playhouse for the 20-21 season where she is directing their virtual season.

Stori has partnered with her classmate from graduate school to start their own production company called [RARE] Lotus Productions. Together they co-created, co-wrote, co-produced and co-starred in their own web series entitled THE NEXT RIGHT THING. The series follows two best friends in New York City embarking on a journey to live their best lives. They hope to be one step closer to the women they want to be, but more often than not they find themselves only able to do the next right thing. Stori’s web series has been accepted into the Bushwick Film Festival, the HollyWeb Festival, The Reel Sisters Festival, Indie Memphis, the New York Indie Theatre Film Festival, the Bronze Lens Festival, the Miami Web Fest where it was nominated for Best Dramedy and the 2018 NYC Web Fest where it was nominated for Best Pilot. It’s currently available for streaming online at aspaceforcreators.com.

Stori is a proud member of Actors’ Equity, holds a B.A. from Mary Baldwin University, an MFA in Acting from Penn State University, and is the former Executive Assistant to writers Dominique Morisseau and Katori Hall. She’s currently a writing assistant to Ms. Morisseau, an Adjunct Professor of Theater at Penn State University and the Associate Artistic Director at Chautauqua Theatre Company. 


About Chautauqua Theater Company

Entering its 39th season, Chautauqua Theater Company is the resident professional theater and Conservatory of Chautauqua Institution. Internationally known actors, directors, designers and writers join 19 emerging artists drawn from the nation's top training programs to form a unique company that produces a vibrant summer of work in the historic Bratton Theater. Dedicated to the next generation of theater artists, the development of new work, first-rate productions of modern and contemporary classics, and fresh insight into Shakespeare’s canon, CTC produces the best of a year-round regional theater within an eight-week summer season.

About Chautauqua Institution

The pre-eminent expression of lifelong learning in the United States, Chautauqua Institution comes alive each summer — and year-round through the CHQ Assembly online platforms — with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. Over the course of nine weeks, more than 100,000 people visit Chautauqua and participate in programs, classes, and community events for all ages — all within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village. As a community, we celebrate, encourage, and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue.