December 1, 2011
Shishir is an award-winning director, actor, writer and composer born in Bombay, India and raised in Mombasa, Kenya and the U.S. For Cornerstone’s Hunger Cycle he acted in Café Vida by Lisa Loomer’s, directed Seed: A Weird Act of Faith by Sigrid Gilmer, directed Love on San Pedro by James McManus and wrote Bliss Point. In the years before the Hunger Cycle he directed Michael John Garces’ first play for Cornerstone, Los Illegals, wrote and directed On Caring for the Beast, was the lyricist for Cornerstone’s Making Paradise: The West Hollywood Musical and directed Lynn Manning’s The Unrequited in the community of Watts, Los Angeles. He has acted in numerous Cornerstone shows and has written over a 250 songs for various Cornerstone productions. The songs he wrote for the Medea portion of Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella, a production originally created, as collaboration between Cornerstone Theater and The Actor’s Gang in 1998, was part of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s 2012 season. Over the past four seasons, Shishir has directed Quiara Hudes,’The Happiest Song Plays Last and Water by the Spoonful Director at Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
He has also directed and acted at regional theaters around the country to name a few: Playmaker’s Rep, Quantum Theatre, Lark Theatre, Silk Road Rising, The Cockpit Theatre, East West Players and Dell” Arte School. A few of Shishir’s acting credits for television and film include: True Blood, NCIS, Bones, Lost, Heroes, Sleeper Cell, NYPD Blue, Monk, Alias, The West Wing, Chicago Hope, E.R., Trigger Effect and Coneheads.
Shishir’s theater awards and nominations include: TIME/A.S.K. Award (one of only six nationwide awardees), Princess Grace Apprenticeship Award, Kennedy Center Award, TCG/Alan Schneider Directing Award finalist, two time Herb Alpert Award nominee, L.A. Weekly Award, LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award nominee, Garland Awards, Drama-Logue Awards. Education: BFA, University of Florida, Gainesville. MFA, University of California, San Diego.
His one-man shows Assimilation and Exile: Ruminations on a Reluctant Martyr (the latter a commission from Highways Performance Space) have been seen in countless cities and universities nationally and internationally, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Austin, London and Manchester, England. His essay “In-Between-Space” appears in “Let’s Get It On: The Politics of Black Performance”, published by the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. Assimilation is published by Rutgers Press in the anthology “Bold Words: A Century of Asian American Writing.” He was profiled in author Mei Ling Cheng’s book: “In Other Los Angeleses: Multicentric Performance Art.” His solo performance piece Sharif Don’t Like It examines the fallout from the USA Patriot Act and the disappearance of over two thousand South Asian and Arab Muslims. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Florida, Gainesville and a Master of Fine Arts from University of California, San Diego. His most profound, instructive and daily inspiration, however, is his daughter Tala Claye Ananya Perl Kurup.