Over the past five years at Chicago Children’s Theatre, Jacqueline Russell has worked as a curator, writer, and director. She has selected the work and organized each of Chicago Children’s Theatre’s five seasons, assembling creative teams and serving as an artistic advisor on every one of the company’s plays. She has also commissioned four new works, including the hit musical The Hundred Dresses, featuring music by Grammy-nominated recording artist Ralph Covert. As a writer and director, she has spearheaded the development of each of the company’s plays for children with autism: Red Kite /Blue Moon and Red Kite Round Up. In 2008, She directed the critically-acclaimed If All the World Were Paper and is soon to write and direct the world premiere of Red Kite Round Up.

Prior to founding Chicago Children’s Theatre in 2005, Russell was the executive director of Lookingglass Theatre Company, during which time she led the company’s build and move into their performance space in the Water Tower Water Works. During her tenure at Lookingglass, she also served as director of education and outreach. Before joining the Lookingglass staff, she spent five years working as director of children’s programming at the Old Town School of Folk Music where she was responsible for designing several popular programs like the Old Town Summer Camps, Musical Theatre Workshop and The Kemper Kids’ Concert Series.

For 14 years, Jacqueline has worked as an artist in residence at Agassiz Elementary School teaching drama to two autism-specific classrooms through CAPE (Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education). Her decade-long commitment to students on the autism spectrum and the special educators at Agassiz School resulted in a comprehensive theatre curriculum and approach for working with children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Her work led her to create The Red Kite Project at Chicago Children’s Theatre, which includes Camp Red Kite and Red Kite productions, including writing and directing the smash hit Red Kite Round Up. Russell now leads professional development workshops for educators and artists, continues to works in classrooms with students with ASD, and also gives lectures and demonstrations for medical specialists, parents, and educators. Her work in the classroom has been duplicated around the city of Chicago and has recently begun to cross borders and into classrooms and theatres in Canada and beyond. This year Jacqueline was appointed by the U.S. State Department to serve as a Cultural Envoy to Canada where she wrote and directed Red Kite/Blue Sky for children on the autism spectrum in Ontario.

Russell holds a BFA from New York University, and resides in Chicago with her daughter Shiri.