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Bold. Visceral. Connected.


At Brazen Light, we believe stories have the power to help us understand our world and one another. Our mission is to create daring new theater and radical reinterpretations of popular works that challenge stigma, push boundaries, and illuminate our world. Our specific methodology deepens the connection between actor and character creating electrifying productions.


We all have a light inside yearning to be seen. Whether a patron or an artist, we empower your light to shine free. 

Who We Are

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Ryan Cupello
Artistic Director

Ryan Cupello is a New York City-based actor, director, producer. He holds an MFA from the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University. He has studied at the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia and at the Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Kraków, Poland. He has performed professionally in NYC, Boston, Moscow, and in the National Tours of Fiddler on the Roof and Dirty Dancing. He has produced and directed in Boston, Buffalo, and NYC. In the wake of the Covid shut-down, he helped create the PlayOnline series with Soho Shakespeare Company for which he directed The Tempest starring Jack Wetherall (Showtime’s Queer as Folk). Member: AEA

Mara Lee Gilbert

Mara Lee Gilbert

Education Director/Intimacy Coach

Mara Lee Gilbert explores the lines between beauty and the grotesque, seeking to unravel taboos. Much of her work draws on stories of violence, sexual expression and power dynamics in intimate relationships.


She is a New York-based, award-winning actor, filmmaker, writer, and coach. She has a Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology and worked for many years with incarcerated and institutionalized populations. During college, she helped run a three-month drama therapy program with inmates at Bayview Women’s Correctional Facility. As well, she was later tasked with running the first ever drama therapy group inside the notorious Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center for the criminally insane. These experiences strongly influence the focus of empathy in her work.


Besides acting in film and on stage, she has also combined her background with her acting to teach empathy and communication skills to medical professionals and the New York City Police Department.

Core Values


American society has been built upon oppressive policies that allow certain powers to expand their political, economic, and cultural influence by extorting communities based on their race, religion, gender, sexuality, ability, health, wealth, education, and citizenship. We pledge to institute DEI and Anti-Racist training for our staff and as part of each rehearsal process. We will institute intervention and disruption protocols for harmful moments that may arise from our staff, collaborators, and audience members. We understand that this is an ongoing commitment to re-examining our own prejudices and taking responsibility for our failures as we do this work. We know that theater has the power to educate, inspire, and challenge each of us and are committed to doing the long-overdue, uncomfortable work to dismantle these oppressive systems and create change in the world and within ourselves.


We are committed to supporting communities that have been exploited, silenced, or underrepresented by showcasing their stories, creating a safe space for artists to develop and exhibit their individual voices, and offering intimacy coaching to allow artists to express themselves without exacerbating personal trauma. We pledge to create a leadership team and staff that represents the communities we aim to support.


We pledge to work with multi-disciplined artists and technicians to constantly challenge our understanding of what theater is. We are committed to questioning how we tell stories on stage and experimenting with theatrical forms and performance styles while maintaining high-quality and meaningful storytelling. We will expand our exposure and work beyond the predominant American theater traditions.

Audience Engagement

We believe theater is a communal experience and that it should be accessible to everyone. Like the groundlings of Shakespeare’s theatre, we encourage the audience to interact with the stories we tell and pledge to shatter the barrier between actor and audience. We are committed to making admission affordable and to engage communities whose stories we amplify. 

Support Us

Our work could not be possible without the support of our generous donors. Every donation, from $1 to $1,000,000 helps ensure that we can bring high quality work that "challenges stigma" to New York City and that we can fully support our artists.

We are currently running a beta test group experience for our unique rehearsal and training process. This includes deep intimacy coaching and acting methods from the Moscow Art Theatre. Our actors have already told us that this is something they haven't found anywhere else! Stay tuned as we release more details and open this training to the public.

Join our family and help us create work that will challenge stigmas, empower performers, and help create a better world for all of us!

Brazen Light Theater Company is a sponsored project of NewYorkRep, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Brazen Light Theater Company must be made payable to “NewYorkRep” only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

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