"Deanna is as much at home with experimentation as with ‘traditional’ structures.  And in each case, her work is anchored by a keen kinesthetic sensibility that inherently brings the audience concretely into the room.  Each of her works are marked by the powerful sense of really being somewhere—wherever that story happens to be.

Deanna Downes' rigorous aesthetic enables her to create powerfully embodied pieces of theatre.  She can work at many different levels, as able to suss out daily human truth as to engage archetypal realities—and all the ways that those can overlap within the same piece. 

Collaboratively, her ability to empower the actor, and to invite him or her into a process of mutual envisioning, is exceptional. 
           -- Jon Froehlich, Cloud of Fools Theatre Company

"Deanna Downes is a compassionate and generous Director that has a laser sharp intuition for staging and helping an actor to flourish is bringing their character to life."

          -- Jadele McPherson, Lukumi Arts

"I set Omar's rant [Party People at OSF] within one hour of rehearsal. I gave Deanna notes, then I boarded a plane back to Dallas. When I came back, not only had the piece been well rehearsed but it had been thoughtfully directed with intention and specificity reflected in my notes. To this day, it is one of my favorite sections of "Party People". That couldn't have happened without her. Detail, specificity and integrity with regard to the work is what I know I can always expect from Deanna Downes."

          -- Millicent Johnnie, Choreographer

"I've worked with Deanna on a few of my plays. Whether she's in the role of director or dramaturge, her impact is a unique mix of intelligent exploration and theatrical expression. She's committed to digging deeper--finding ways to engage the audience in the conversations within my plays."  

          -- Christina Anderson, Playwright 

"Deanna is adept at and passionate about theater’s ability to put communities in dialogue with complex issues of race and ethnicity. She not only theorizes about it, bringing attention to many voices unheard, but she also puts it into practice. My choreographic work and practice echo these interests. My research includes explorations of the dancing body, identity and performances of black female sexuality. I often deal with sensitive topics and diverse populations. Having her as a resource for my choreographic work is a gift. Her background and research interests intersect with mine in a way that promote creative interrogation of the topic and provide critical dialogue for my artistic work. As a dramaturg and workshop facilitator for my recent projects, Deanna has the ability to lead and push everyone - director, dancers, workshop participants and audiences -  with rigor and encouragement. Her expertise, support, and leadership are valuable assets in the creative process and throughout the production."

           -- Gesel Mason, Gesel Mason Performance Projects


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