Chicago-based multidisciplinary artist Karen Yates works primarily within the performance arena, as a creator, director, writer, and actor. She is also a sound artist, making sound-text pieces that complement her original theater work. Yates’ work has been called "masterful," "driven," "vibrant and kinetic," "delightful," "evocative." Productions in which she has participated directorially have made journalists' "highly recommended" lists.
As a director, she has worked with Oracle, ATC, Piccolo Theatre, Actors' Revolution Theatre, Chopin, Chicago Scriptworks, the WTA, TUTA, the Around the Coyote Festival, Stage Left, among others. She has experience with Shakespeare and new plays. Yates has studied movement and devising with Complicité, SITI Company, Goat Island, Wendell Beavers, and Antonio Fava, to name a few.
Yates is the Associate Artistic Director of the adventurous hybrid opera company, Chicago Opera Vanguard. With COV in 2011 she directed workshops of their new opera, The Suitcase, both in Chicago and Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is also writing the libretto for Frequency Response (formerly Dysphonia), a COV opera by composer Rob Steel employing interactive technology.
Yates received an MA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Columbia College Chicago and was awarded the Albert P. Weisman Award for her sound project American Bacchae Infrasonic.
Yates is also a performer, working with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Writers' Theatre (Joseph Jefferson Award nomination for Ensemble, To The Green Fields Beyond) BackStage, and Eclipse, among others. She also has done significant work in Playback Theater, a non-comedic form of improv that can be used in community outreach and cultural reconciliation, and has been a member of two Playback companies in Chicago.