Crave’s Audition Workshop: Empowering BIPOC Actors

About Us

Hey y’all, we know that finding an acting coach can be daunting and you probably have a long list of qualifications when it comes to finding someone you’d be willing to trust as a collaborator. Why should you trust us with that? At Crave Theatre, we believe in the power of diverse voices and stories. Our audition class is specifically designed to empower and uplift BIPOC actors, providing a supportive and inclusive space for honing your craft.

Why Choose Crave Theatre?

Celebrating Diversity

We recognize the richness that diversity brings to the world of performing arts. Our classes celebrate the unique perspectives, talents, and cultural backgrounds of BIPOC actors.

Expert Instruction

Our classes offer expert guidance and mentorship. Led by Jennifer Lanier, an actor and director in Portland has been teaching & coaching since 1995 and she understands the challenges and opportunities unique to BIPOC actors.

Safe and Inclusive Environment

We prioritize creating a safe and inclusive learning environment where every actor feels valued, heard, and respected. Your journey is important, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.


Getting quality audition coaching shouldn’t be limited to people with a certain level of income. We believe you can’t put a price on talent and it shouldn’t cost you just because you have it. Pay as little or as much as you can (even if it’s just a handshake or a hug) and get the same level of coaching as everyone else.

…and it’s fun!

We get that it can be a minefield finding the right artistic collaborators and there are so many considerations to make when choosing who to trust with a vulnerable part of the process. We do this work because we love it and we want to help others bring joy and enthusiasm to this work. Being a professional actor doesn’t have to mean we take the enjoyment out of the process. We firmly believe that in order to bring your best to the table, it helps to have a willingness to play, be vulnerable, and share that with others. That’s what we’re here to do.



What You’ll Learn

  • Audition Techniques: Master the art of auditions with personalized coaching and feedback.

  • Scene Study: Dive deep into scenes with thoughtful analysis and insights from someone who knows.

  • Cultural Sensitivity: Explore how to navigate roles with cultural sensitivity and authenticity.

  • Confidence Building: Build the confidence to showcase your unique talent and perspective.

Class Format

Our classes are offered in in-person with small class sizes, providing flexibility to accommodate your schedule. Each session includes a combination of group activities, one-on-one coaching, and constructive feedback.

Meet Your Instructor

“Since 1993, I have studied Viola Spolin’s methods of teaching & coaching. Her games-focused methods completely exploded my brain! Because games connect to different parts of the brain than direct coaching does, mixing the two can speed up progress exponentially. And it has the extra added bonus of being fun!”

Jennifer Lanier has been teaching and coaching actors of all skill levels since 1995. She grew up in Greensboro NC and received her classical acting training at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under Gerald Freedman, Cigden Onat, and Robert Moyer. While in North Carolina, Jennifer founded the Lesbian Thesbians theatre company and also produced a number of independent projects. She became a founding fellow of the A+ Schools Program, instructing school faculties in Arts integration and curriculum enrichment. She also began working with Robert Moyer at the United Stage, bringing scripted and improvisational stories to young audiences throughout the South. The two even had a run at the Smithsonian Institution’s Discovery Theatre of Lanier’s original young audiences piece, BRER RABBIT MEETS COYOTE, exploring the challenges of growing up as an ethnically mixed person. Lanier expanded the piece into a solo comedy called NONE OF THE ABOVE which she has toured to colleges, theatre festivals, and Pride events throughout the country. She currently has a production company, Many Horses Productions, which produces variety shows, drag events, and theatre.

Lanier’s resume is extensive and varied. She is currently Co-Artistic Director of Original Practice Shakespeare Festival (OPS Fest). Lanier has directed for both stage and film including BAD WORLD for Crave Theatre and the film BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR here in Portland. She has worked in regional theatre (Portland Center Stage, American Stage, Portland Playhouse, Ruth Foreman Theatre) touring theatre (People’s Art Action, Artists Repertory Theatre, United Stage), television (guest star on Leverage, Hawaii, Grimm), national & regional commercials, and film (Water Man, Thin Skin, Last Champion). Lanier lives in Vancouver WA with her wife, two sons, a tornado of a kitten, and a ridiculous dinosaur of a tortoise.


You can find out more about Jen at


“I hired Jennifer Lanier to coach me after she directed me for a staged reading. She impressed me because – in a way that I’d rarely experienced with directors and acting teachers up to that point – Jen kindly, attentively, encouragingly, and effectively pushed me to be authentically, unreservedly, emotionally open to meet the challenges of the role.

As a coach, Jen is a phenomenal resource. I, as a person of color, have deeply appreciated Jen’s empathy and her practical advice for navigating audition processes. She has helped me with incorporating my lived experiences when crafting my auditions. She has shown me ways to play with material, consider it from different perspectives, and keep it fresh. She has shown me how to use film techniques (framing and distance) to enhance recorded theatre auditions. She has shared with me what she is studying and learning so that I can pursue more learning with more teachers and resources. Jennifer Lanier is a coach who listens to her client and tailors sessions to help her client both grow artistically and meet the moment in the audition room.”

– Wynee Hu (she, her, hers)

“what a great experience I had working with you on Bad World. During that process, you taught me really valuable skills on how to allow myself to be vulnerable and embody a character.  Prior to working with you, I never considered myself an actor but merely a singer who acts. The way you were able to teach how to access parts of myself to make a character come to life was so helpful and I have continued to use those techniques. Also, It is actually one of the reasons why I have decided to apply to grad school.”

Kayla Leacock, actor


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