Joann Maria Yarrow is a professional director and producer with over 30 years of experience. Currently, she is the Director of Community Engagement and Education at Syracuse Stage in New York, as well as the Executive Director of Live Animation Studios producing content for film and television in both English and Spanish and the CEO of Distinctive Voices, a company that works in commercial voice-over, interpreting services and corporate training. She is passionate about multi-cultural creativity and fostering programs and productions that challenge and shift the world.
Joann began her career as a director and choreographer while with Double Edge Theatre in Boston. She trained with Odin Teatret in Denmark, co-founding A Laboratory for Actor Training with Vernice Miller in New York. Joann spent three years working for Broadway director, Harold Prince on the productions of Parade, Whistle down the Wind, Candide, Show Boat, Kiss of the Spiderwoman and Phantom of the Opera. She has since worked in Denmark, London, Madrid, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Texas, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.
For 12 years, Joann was the Artistic Director of Teatro Prometeo, the only Spanish-language theatre conservatory and repertory in the nation. While there, she directed and produced over 80 productions, translated, adapted and commissioned new works that have toured nationally and internationally. She produced and hosted annual international theatre festivals such as the International Hispanic Theatre Festival of Miami and Play Time: An International Theatre Festival for Children as well as creating programming for the Miami Book Fair International for 10 seasons. With Lau Lapides Studios, Joann created the Miami Hispanic Showcase, a networking event that brings bilingual talent together with agents and casting directors. She is a recurring guest with the Studio working alongside agents and casting directors in New York and Los Angeles as well as teaching professional acting and voice-over classes.
Joann is currently partnering with SFX Director, Dean Lyon of Splinter Studios, Jim Hammond of Puppet Network LLC, Amy Carlson of Ecke Studios, LLC and Lamar Hawkins of Stories AG to bring to life various live action, puppet and animation projects, from live events to television series as well as workshops in voice-over for animation and motion capture performance. She directed the pilot “Let’s Go!” and is currently on the writing team and director for the “Fearless Times” animated series. Joann partnered with Miami Dade College for the launch of MAGIC (Miami Animation and Gaming International Complex) where she taught fight choreography and physical characterization for gamers in their motion-capture studio, voice-over classes at their sound studios and was a judge for MAGIC pitch week, working with animation teams to pitch to Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and other partners. She is currently a virtual teaching mentor for the ADA Labs Animation Boot Camp in Nairobi, Kenya.
Joann Yarrow received her B.F.A. from Boston University and her M.F.A. in Directing from the University of California at Irvine. She has taught at the Universidad de Alcalá in Madrid, the NYU Madrid Program and Union College in New York. Joann is a featured director in the book “The art and practice of directing in Latin America: Central America and United States.” Her adaptation and translation of Oliver Mayer’s play, Blade to the Heat (Filo al fuego) is published in the Tramoya Anthology, 2014, and she is currently working on contributing to a new book for Yale University on Latinx Theatre Training to be published by Rutledge in 2021. Joann is a member of the Latinx Theater Commons and is an alumnus of Lincoln Center’s Director’s Lab West in Los Angeles where she has participated for the last 20 years. Joann directs Syracuse Stage’s Backstory productions, working with commissioned playwrights such as Stephanie Leary, Daniel Carlton, Nambi Kelly, Kyle Bass and Ty Dafoe. Her production of Commanding Space: the Rise of Annie Easley and the Centaur Rocket will be touring nationally beginning in 2022 as well as a New York State tour of Citizen James, or a Young Man without a Country on the young James Baldwin. Joann curates Syracuse Stories, a safe space for members of the community to discuss and address topics that surface from different productions and community issues.