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Daily Inspiration: Meet Anna Miles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anna Miles.

Hi Anna, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I’ve spent most of my life pursuing a career in acting, but I’m now in the process of shifting my focus to directing – a passion I’ve always had, but which I didn’t fully embrace until 2017 when I directed a production of Daddy Long Legs: The Musical in Studio City, and realized that not only was I most fully myself when behind the table, I also had a lot more to offer the theater – and the world. Every theater artist is by nature some sort of storyteller, and I’m no different. My passion for storytelling is expansive. It’s global, it’s mythological, it’s macro and microcosmic all at once. I want to revolutionize the ways in which we tell the stories we’ve all fallen in love with.

By now, I’ve directed many more plays (including A Sad Tale’s Best for Winter, my self-written feminist adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, workshopped with Noise Now at A Noise Within Theatre, and an upcoming production of Thornton Wildern’s Our Town in Sacramento), several storytelling and cabaret events, avant-garde film projects, and immersive performance-art experiences (including the interactive Instagram Art Installation Piece, #NeverAlone, featured in the AV Club, and it’s companion film piece, “Cassandra Q+A” – learn more about these project here!). Most recently, I’ve begun venturing into film, and I produced, directed, co-wrote, and edited a one-minute horror film, “Zenith,” which was chosen as an official selection of NYX Horror Collective’s “13 Minutes of Horror” film festival, streamed on Shudder. I’ve founded an LA-based feminist artist collective/theater company called Beating of Wings. – a step toward my most deeply-held dream of reshaping the industry to be a more equitable, accessible, and respectful space for all artists and people.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It’s incredibly difficult to build a career and a voice amongst an industry of gatekeepers: I think our industry (theater especially) needs to reevaluate how budding artists can access opportunities. It’s the classic “we can’t hire you without experience,” but how can we get the experience without getting hired? As industry leaders, we need to operate with less fear and with more trust: trusting new artists to be amazing and also making space for new artists to learn and make mistakes.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
In all my work, I value collaboration: I’m honored to be able to collaborate with so many incredible artists all along my journey to hone my artistic skills and values and morph them into a strong and unique directorial voice – values which include: extreme rigor and precision with all storytelling decisions; an attention to detail balanced with a commitment to creating a cohesive vision; reimagining and challenging the ways we traditionally use text, setting, architecture, and movement; and most importantly, celebrating the voices that have been singing out since the beginning of time, but which have not yet been adequately celebrated. To this end, I run my rehearsal rooms with a spirit of respect, openness, and collaboration. Above all, I always remain committed to telling stories that are vital to the world – stories that have the capacity to inspire and create meaningful change. Storytelling is a high calling. It is a historical calling. I feel a great responsibility to perform this calling in the best and most thoughtful way possible.

What sets me apart artistically is my revolutionary use of form: the form a story takes should be an inherent part of the storytelling. For example, creating a horror story about an Instagram influencer which unfolded on Instagram itself. My work almost always contains meta elements, and I’m passionate about site-specific and non-traditional immersive theater and experiences.

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
Most of all, I love how easy it is to find pockets of great artists and creatives anywhere you look. What I like least about the city comes back to the access issue – in some ways, we need to live in a place like LA to pursue and find work in film and theater. But ever-rising living costs and inaccessibility of opportunities make it difficult for new emerging artists to build work and build careers.

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