Originally from Siena, Italy, Laura Biagi is a performance artist and educator whose focus is on storytelling as a healing art. Her work weaves together the fields of performance studies, contemplative pedagogy, and storytelling. After working at the Theatre School between 2016-2018 as the Visiting Multicultural Faculty, Laura is currently teaching as an adjunct professor, and is the director of the Theatre School 2019 Summer High School Training Program. In 2017, Dr. Biagi designed and launched the course Healing Narratives, in collaboration with Chicago’s Cook Country Jail and the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Program.
Dr. Biagi earned a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University under the guidance of Professor Richard Schechner, with a dissertation on the Southern Italian healing ritual of tarantismo. In New York Laura studied “extended vocal techniques” and composition with Meredith Monk, Deep Listening and composition with Pauline Oliveros and Ione, “Theatre of the Oppressed” with Augusto Boal and voice with many international artists. She composed her own performances and collaborated with musicians, directors, storytellers and painters. She performed at LaMama Theatre, Judson Church, New York University, and the Gallery at Deep Listening Space.
Between 2009 and 2012, Laura lived at Ananda Ashram in Tamil Nadu, India, where she studied Raja Yoga in the tradition of Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj. She earned a two-years advanced yoga teacher diploma (3,500-hour residential training), and the title of “Yogacharini Sangeeta.” While in India, she lectured on the benefits of the yoga of sound at the ICYER Hospital and University in Pondicherry, the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga in New Delhi, and the J. Nehru Medical College in Warda. In 2011, she was part of the recording of the album Chanting the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, a project directed by her yoga teacher Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani. In 2013, with Dr. Bhavanani, she co-wrote the book, Saraswati’s Pearls: Dialogues on the Yoga of Sound.
In Chicago, Dr. Biagi has performed her piece The High Priestess as part of Collaboraction’s 2017 PEACEBOOK Festival at the Goodman Theatre and at LaFollettePark, and at the 2017 Chicago Ideas Week. Dr. Biagi’s lectures on contemplative practices, creative awareness, collaboration and community healing have been presented at Vassar College, DePaul University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Howard University, Xavier University of Louisiana, New York Open Center, and the Chicago Artist Coalition of Chicago. Her 2018 TEDx Talk, Reimagine Failure: Breathe, Belong, Believe, addresses the importance of personal narratives for one’s definition of success, a theme that she also explores in her own solo performance, Self-Love, which will be showcased at Stage 773 in the fall of 2018.