About Mommy
Photo of Lyena Strelkoff

Photo by Julia Sherburne

Mommy is… Lyena Strelkoff

Lyena Strelkoff is a writer-performer-educator living in Los Angeles with her fantastically awesome husband, Dean Purvis (editorial note – some of this bio was written by Dean). Her one-person show, Caterpillar Soup, about the fall that left her paralyzed and the life she forged in it’s aftermath has toured at theaters and universities around the country and inspired thousands with it’s hope, humor, candor and courage.

Although professionally trained in acting and dance, Lyena’s creative life has always been eclectic. Her versatile talents include writing, storytelling, and visual art, in addition to acting and movement. Undeterred by traditional boundaries separating various art forms, she frequently combines several disciplines, pushing the limits of common expectation.

As a performance artist, Lyena has combined her eloquent movement style with poetry (“And I shall call me… Bliss”) and body art, designed and painted by LA artist Jennifer Murphy (“She”). She has originated several pivotal roles for award-winning Ziggurat Theatre Ensemble, which she co-founded in 2000 (ed. – along with that stud-muffin Dean), and is a former member of Présences en Regard, a dynamic, physical theater company in Paris, France. Visual works include “Yelena Nikolayovna,” an assemblage honoring her maternal grandmother and featuring a narrative soundtrack, written and recorded by Lyena, as part of a group show at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry in Los Angeles. And her prose poetry has been published by Mother Tongue Ink.

An empowering educator, Lyena has created several workshops for children and adults. One such program, Act One, introduced young children to the finer skills of make-believe, bringing joy and self-esteem to hundreds of children in Los Angeles area schools.

Lyena considers creative expression a necessity in her life. Artistry offers a means to understand and integrate her experience. It also provides a way to connect with the hearts and minds of other people. Intrinsic to Lyena’s personal philosophy is the need to transcend her own circumstance, and to transform her insight, experience and growth into positive opportunities for others.

For more information, visit LyenaStrelkoff.org.


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