Meet the cast: Isabel Ellison of 'Tribes'

Ellison, IsabelAt the Theatre Company: Debut. Theatre in London: The Children’s Hour (West End), Red Bud (Royal Court). Theatre in Chicago: The Night Alive (Steppenwolf Theatre), Measure for Measure (Goodman Theatre), The Crucible (Indiana Repertory Theatre), An Inspector Calls (Remy Bumppo Theatre), The How & The Why (TimeLine Theatre), Hamlet (Writers Theatre). TV: “Chicago Fire.” Training: Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. Isabel is a Colorado native and now lives in Brooklyn.


Ruth in Tribes

  • Isabel EllisonHometown: Boulder
  • Training: Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London
  • What was the role that changed your life? When I was in drama school, I played Masha in Chekhov’s The Three Sisters. Our director taught us a myriad of text, movement and imaginative exercises that changed my whole approach to acting. Our process was collaborative, playful and rigorous. It was the first time I immersed myself totally in a role. I gave up trying to give a “perfect” performance, and instead I learned to focus on my fellow actors, and see what I could learn from them.  
  • Why are you an actor? I suppose because when I was younger I saw films and plays that moved me deeply; that changed me viscerally and profoundly. I want to give that experience to others.
  • What would you be doing for a career if you weren’t an actor? A journalist or writer. Perhaps a human-rights lawyer.
  • Ideal scene partner: Ingrid Bergman. ‘Nuff said.
  • Why does this play matter? I think most people can relate to what Billy goes through in the play. He has to break away from his family in order to become his own person. And although it’s quite painful, it turns out to be beneficial for everyone. Both Daniel and Ruth also have their own journeys toward independence. It’s about learning to adapt and change as a person, and surviving the transition – like Sylvia has to do with becoming deaf.
  • What do you hope the audience gets out of Tribes? Some laughs and an energetic conversation afterward.
  • Finish this sentence: “All I want is … “
    To go for a walk on a Saturday morning, read the paper and then go to the theatre to do a play. 

Photo above right: Isabel Ellison in rehearsal for Tribes. Photo by John Moore for the DCPA NewsCenter.

More 2015-16 ‘Meet the Cast’ profiles:
Adeoye, the Cheshire Cat in Lookingglass Alice
J. Paul Boehmer, the Dukes in As You Like It
Molly Brennan, the Red Queen in Lookingglass Alice
Kevin Douglas, the White Rabbit in Lookingglass Alice
Micah Figueroa, understudy in Lookingglass Alice
Kate Finch, Ruth in Tribes
Drew Horwitz, William and others, As You Like It
Maurice Jones, Orlando in As You Like It
Geoffrey Kent, Actor, Assistant Director and Fight Director in As You Like It
Emily Kron, Phoebe in As You Like It
Nick LaMedica, Sylvius in As You Like It
Andrew Pastides, Daniel in Tribes
Samuel Taylor, the White Knight in Lookingglass Alice
Matt Zambrano, Touchstone in As You Like It
Lindsey Noel Whiting, Alice in Lookingglass Alice

Tribes: Ticket information
Performances  through Nov. 15
Ricketson Theatre
Performance schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday performances at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees at 1:30 p.m. (No Saturday matinees during preview performances)
ASL interpreted & Audio described performance: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 7
Call 303-893-4100 or
TTY: 303-893-9582
Groups of 15 or more: 303-446-4829
Also: Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at

Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts  – – is the only authorized online ticket provider for the Denver engagement of ‘Tribes.’

Previous NewsCenter coverage of Tribes:
Go to the official Tribes show page
Tribes and the art of projections in a play about hearing loss
Tribes and the tyranny of language and listening
Tribes: Anytime there is an ‘us,’ there is a ‘them’
Theatre Company giddily going down rabbit hole in 2015-16
Casting announced for Theatre Company’s fall shows
Theatre Company introduces bold new artwork for 2015-16 season

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