About Nisi Sturgis
Nisi Sturgis is an actress, educator, director, collaborator, and all-around idea gal. She hails from Arkansas, where she attended the Youth Theatre of Central Arkansas for six seasons and went on to graduate from the University of Central Arkansas with a BA in Theatre and Creative Writing. While at UCA, she was nominated for, and won, the Kennedy Center American College National Irene Ryan award and a Williamstown Theatre scholarship in 2001. From there, Nisi went on to pursue her Master of Fine Arts degree in acting and was the youngest person accepted to the Old Globe Graduate Training Program. There, she worked with directors like Dan Sullivan, Darko Tresnjak, John Rando, Jack O’Brien, and Seret Scott. (She wishes there were more women in there, but—we’re working on it.) From there, Nisi moved to New York City. Her first gig in New York was understudying Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel off-Broadway, starring Viola Davis. (She has a great story about that she can tell you later.) Nisi went on to cast a wide net in regional theatres across the country, spending three years at the Denver Center, returning to the Old Globe, creating a strong body of work at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and becoming a member of the Artistic Collective at the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, and honored to be one of “40 Seasons/40 Actors” recognized by the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. She has been privileged to find many artistic homes over the course of 15 years working professionally as an AEA and SAG member. In New York, she served as the acting and audition coach in residence at The Drama Bookshop for about three years, she appeared on Broadway as The Woman in The 39 Steps, and off-Broadway as Laura Wingfield in Tennessee Williams’ The Pretty Trap. She also spent a fair amount of her time helping to develop new plays and experimental works with downtown companies such as Hoi Polloi, collaborating with artists like Alec Duffy, Mimi Lien, Dave Malloy, and Mona Mansour. Nisi spent five years as the recurring character June Thompson on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and was nominated for a Best Ensemble SAG Award. For the past three years, Nisi has been teaching and touring. She spent six months on the road with Ayad Aktar’s Disgraced at the Goodman, Seattle Rep, and Berkeley Rep theatres (for which she won a best actress Bay Area Theatre Award), attending 152 talkbacks during the run. She recently finished a tour of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville at the Cleveland and Cincinnati Playhouses in which she played 14 characters. She is delighted to be a new Assistant Professor of Acting at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is especially excited to have more time here with the students and faculty learning about the good work we are doing at the Krannert Center and across the globe.