From NYC to the Sandhills via LA and London

The Uprising Theatre Company was born in 1999 in New York City’s Judith Anderson Theatre, a small Off-Off Broadway house on 42nd Street.

The brainchild of Founders Carolanne Marano and Jonathan Drahos, we were conceived after Carolanne wrote a new comedy following their 1996 marriage. The couple had been professional actors for over a decade at the time, but decided, after a successful run of Carolanne’s comedy, they could launch a new and exciting chapter in their creative lives: producing plays in the Big Apple.

But the Left Coast was calling, wooing them them to Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles, Carolanne and Jonathan resumed the company under the same name while pursuing acting careers, but began expanding their productions to include Shakespeare. In 2004, the Company achieved 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.

Carolanne’s and Jonathan’s career eventually evolved toward creative and artistic research, and so the couple moved to London, England to pursue Jonathan’s’ Ph.D in Drama. During the five years of research, the company was kept alive, but was not producing productions in the United States.

With his Ph.D. in hand, Jonathan and Carolanne moved to North Carolina where he took up the post of Director of Theatre and she taught all levels of stage dance in the theatre program at the University of North Carolina, Pembroke. Soon, The Uprising Theatre Company found a new home in the Village of Pinehurst and has been producing high-quality theatre through our Shakespeare in the Pines Festival, which we began in June 2017.

Today, as Sandhills’ Own Professional Theatre Company, The Uprising Theatre Company does more than bring Shakespeare’s venerated work to the community, enriching lives through its unique investigation of the human experience and its power to broaden cultural perspectives We also offer educational outreach programs to local high school and college students, by providing programs that give them hands-on experience and the skills to better pursue their artistic passions. During the summer of 2018, we met with hundreds of students from Pinecrest High School, and provided free workshops in Shakespearean acting. We will increase this educational outreach in 2019, as we engage in events such as the English Speaking Union’s Shakespeare competition for Moore County High Schools.

Our dream is to expand our offerings in the coming years. Jonathan and Carolanne are committed not only to producing high-quality classical productions by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, but also inspired to offer other classic American plays and musicals and to create exciting opportunities for theatre actors, designers, directors, and technicians, both locally and nationally.

As the Bard wrote, “All The World’s a Stage.” While our stage has moved around the world, and we are grateful for the many parts we have played in every city we have lived, we are now happy to have found our forever home and excited to build a future right here in the Sandhills.

Director and Founder

Dr. Jonathan Drahos

For the past twenty-five years, Dr. Drahos has been dedicated to professional acting and directing, and to the theoretical, historical, and performative study of classical and contemporary theatre. As an actor, he has worked in all media including Broadway, Off-Broadway, television, and feature films.

He has extensive experience directing and vocal coaching a wide range of styles and periods — including Shakespeare and Musical Theatre.

Jonathan holds a MFA (acting and directing), BA (acting and directing), and a PhD in Shakespearean and Marlovian Narrative Verse Acting from the University of Birmingham, UK.

Currently Associate Professor and Director of the Theatre Program at University of North Carolina, Pembroke, Jonathan previously spent three years teaching Shakespeare, Early Modern British Theatre History, and 17th Century Literature at California State University, Northridge. He has recently published in the Shakespeare Institute Review Journal.

Jonathan and his wife, Carolanne Marano, founded the Uprising Theatre Company in 1999 and The Shakespeare in the Pines Festival in 2017. They make their home in the Village of Pinehurst.

Producer and Co-Artistic Director and Founder

Carolanne Marano

Carolanne has been a professional dancer/actor for the past 30 years. She is also an accomplished and sought-after director, choreographer, and teacher.

A member of Actors’ Equity, she has performed in countless productions and tours nationally and internationally, including as Nellie Forbush in Downey Civic Light Opera’s South Pacific and at the Hollywood Bowl with Reba McIntire in South Pacific. She also had featured roles in Gypsy (Louise), Man of La Mancha (Gypsy Dancer), Evita (Tango Dancer/Taiwan Tour), Can-Can (Claudine) and West Side Story (Anita).

As a director/choreographer, Carolanne choreographed: Three Musketeers and Avenue Q for Cape Fear Regional Theatre; Last Train To Nibroc and Once on this Island for University of North Carolina, Pembroke’s Theatre Program; and My Fair Lady, Little Mermaid, The Drowsy Chaperone, and West Side Story at the Rubicon Theatre Company. Other works as a Choreographer include: A Night in Paris A Go-Go with Belinda Carlisle/Rufus Wainwright New Year’s Eve show for the LA Philharmonic; URINETOWN, Godspell, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, and Romeo and Juliet at the Rubicon Theatre; Venus and Adonis at George Cadbury Hall, UK; The Music Man at Downey Civic Light Opera, and Cabaret at Ashland High School; and the film, The Ghastly Love of Johnny X.

Currently a Guest Director/Choreographer/Stage Dance Instructor at the University of North Carolina, Pembroke, Carolanne previously taught Musical Theatre at The University of Southern Oregon, University of Worcester, UK, and Pineapple Dance Studio in London, England.

Carolanne and her husband, Dr. Jonathan Drahos, founded the Uprising Theatre Company in 1999 and The Shakespeare in the Pines Festival in 2017. They make their home in the Village of Pinehurst.