Laurel Butler is an educator, facilitator, organizer, and multidisciplinary performance artist. Laurel is currently based in Los Angeles, where she is currently the Performing Arts Specialist for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and the Youth Development and Leadership Specialist for the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network. From 2016 to 2018, Laurel taught on Faculty in the World Arts and Cultures/Dance Department of the UCLA School of Art and Architecture, where she served as both Associate Director and Professional Development Coordinator of the Visual and Performing Arts Education Program. She is the lead singer of Lady Stardust (San Francisco) and Cassandra (Los Angeles), a member of The Royal Frog Ballet performance collective, and the founder of the Sharon is Karen work-in-progress salon. Her work has premiered at REDCAT NOW, the International Home Theater Festival, the Revolutions International Theater Festival, CounterPULSE, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Women's Center for Creative Work; her show September (created with her husband, Ewen Wright) toured nationally throughout the summer of of 2014. She has also served as Dance Teacher at St. James Episcopal School, Social Justice instructor and Service Learning Coordinator at Windward School, and Teaching Artist with The Unusual Suspects Theater Company. Laurel received her M.A. in Theater Education and Community Outreach from the University of New Mexico in 2010.
From 2011 to 2014, Laurel lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was the Youth Arts Manager and Education/Engagement Specialist at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and an Adjunct Professor in the Performing Arts and Social Justice Department at the University of San Francisco. Before moving to California, Laurel served as the Artistic Director of The Actor Inside Program, facilitating theater and dance in jails and detention centers in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has also been the Executive Director of Theater-in-the-Making, Multi-Arts Theater Director for the Idyllwild Arts Academy, and an educator for Stanford University, Keshet Dance Company, Enchanted Circle Theater, and the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
Laurel's work has been published in Theater Topics, Museum 2.0, ARC Muses, the Journal of Museum Education, and the National Teens-in-the-Arts Report, and featured on numerous blogs including The Huffington Post. She has presented about her work as a community arts facilitator at the Emerging Dance Audiences Learning Exchange at Dance USA Conference, the National Teens-in-the-Arts Convening at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, the Allied Media Conference Transformative Arts Practice Space, Create Justice, Beyond the Bars LA, and the Arts in Corrections: Building Bridges to the Future conference. She has been a faculty advisor for the UCLA Justice Work Group, a facilitator of the Beyond the Bars LA Fellowship Committee, and the founder of the Art as Resistance student group. Laurel is a proud recipient of the Creative Capacity Fund Next Gen award, the California Arts Council Re-Entry Through the Arts grant, and the 21st Century Fox Social Impact award, and an Arts for LA ACTIVATE Fellowship in arts advocacy.
She lives with her husband, Ewen Wright, and their two dogs, Max and Oliver, in Los Angeles, California.