Olena is a Seattle based actor, who recently returned to the area after several years in New York, NY and Ashland, OR. Olena is a founding company member of Whidbey Island’s professional regional repertory theater, Island Shakespeare Festival, where she recently closed a run of “The Tempest,” in the role of Ariel. Olena has a BFA in Performance from Southern Oregon University, and a certificate from Circle in the Square Theater School’s two-year Professional Acting Conservatory program.
Olena was born in Seattle. She developed an early love of dramatic exploration through participation in workshops with the Seattle Children’s Theater. As a four-year-old, Olena first encountered Shakespeare in Franco Zefferelli’s 1978 film production of “Romeo & Juliet.” The arrow had struck, and her favorite make-believe character became Juliet. Shakespeare has since remained a passion and inspiration.
After a move to Whidbey Island at the age of eight, Olena became active in Whidbey Children’s Theater. In high school, with several of her peers, she formed The Third Street Players, a young adult company. After graduating high school Olena committed to further her training in pursuit of her passion.
In 2008, Olena took the leap and moved to NYC, her dream since childhood. She completed Circle in the Square Theater School’s two-year professional acting conservatory, where she cultivated an empathetic and enthusiastic technique in her craft. She later finished her undergraduate degree with a BFA in Performance from Southern Oregon University, and went on to work with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as both an actor and teaching artist.
Olena now works and lives in the Seattle area. She remains a member of the Island Shakespeare Festival acting company, and is also the Associate Artistic Director. As such, Olena manages all marketing and graphic materials, and the development of an outreach program for youth. In addition, Olena is an associate producer for the Theatrical Mustang podcast, which features interviews with theater artists and practitioners in the Seattle area. She also blogs for ShoesCentral.com, a boutique fashion-comfort shoe website, as well as Whidbey Life Magazine.