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About Lisa Cordes


Lisa Cordes is a freelance theater artist and writer who has collaborated over the years with a number of visual artists and composers, creating a body of work that pokes at the American psyche and its discordant history with equal parts salt and salve.

As an administrator, Cordes has served as Marketing Director for the Coterie Theater, Director of Development for Mid-America Arts Alliance, Executive Director of Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, Executive Director of Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, and Marketing Director for the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

In 2010, she was a recipient of a Charlotte Street Rocket Grant and an ArtsKC Inspiration grant for the development and performances of her play, Prop 8 On Trial, based on original trial transcripts from the first ever same-sex marriage case to be argued in a federal court. In 2012, Prop 8 On Trial was produced by Beth Marshall Presents in Orlando. As a resident artist at the Fishtank Performance Studio (2009-2010), she collaborated on a number of performance projects including the “We Read It So You Don’t Have To” which debuted with a public reading of Sarah Palin’s book, Going Rogue. American Alphabet, a sobering yet acerbic solo exploration of her family tree and its inextricable ties to the history of race in America debuted at the 2010 Kansas City Fringe Festival.

Her interest in community-based art-making led her to a teaching stint at the Kansas City Art Institute and playwright residencies for high schools, a public housing projects, and social service agencies, exploring issues such as homelessness, gun violence, and addiction. As a professional playwright, she has written several plays commissioned by The Coterie Theater, including scripts for their award-winning Dramatic AIDS Education Project that reaches some 18,000 young people annually.

Lisa Cordes is also the founder of two performance companies, Eyes Wide Open and Big Fragile Stage and her interest in a “theater of immediacy” led her to create The Bus Event, a series of performances staged at city bus stops involving over 60 artists and musicians. As a spoken word artist, Cordes has opened for musicians John Cale and Jello Biafra, and journalist Molly Ivins.

Cordes has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Missouri Arts Council and the Charlotte Street Foundation, and has consulted and written for the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Lisa was a Artist INC Fellow and a Charlotte Street Foundation Urban Culture Project Resident during 2012-13.

Currently, she serves as Development and Arts Program Director of United Inner City Services, home of St. Mark Child and Family Development Center.

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