About Lumina: Mission & History
Lumina Studio Theatre

Mission Statement

Lumina Studio Theatre’s mission is to provide unique opportunities for young and adult actors of all levels of experience to perform Shakespeare, other plays of the classical repertory theatre, and modern plays that focus on the beauty of language.

Lumina provides a disciplined and rigorous professional setting where actors are trained in a comprehensive performance program of theatre arts based on Rudolf Steiner’s Creative Speech and Drama techniques.  The techniques of Stella Adler and Michael Chehkov are also demonstrated and put into practice. Our program includes in-depth vocal and character coaching, improvisation, and stage combat training, detailed costumes, live music, choreography and occasionally special elements such as masks to support the shows. The results are exhilarating and thoughtful productions that demand more of our aspiring actors, and benefit them for life, whether they pursue acting professionally or become informed and astute patrons of the arts.


Lumina Studio Theatre made its debut on October 5, 1995 in Brooklyn, NY at Promote Art Works, Inc. as a new concept in teaching speech and drama.  Jillian Raye, Founder and Artistic Director, moved the organization to Takoma Park, MD, in 1997.Ms. Raye’s extensive training included: the Victorian Ballet Guild Theatre School; the Harkness Conservatory of Drama, Australia; a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from the University of Texas at Dallas and Rudolf Steiner’s Speech and Drama technique.

Lumina began as a response to the gap Ms. Raye vision that all ages could perform together on the stage. Ms. Raye believed that young actors can perform brilliantly using the classics in imaginative ways; that actors and audiences can grow from barrier-free, intergenerational performances; and that theatre discipline and creativity are soul mates that belong to the entire community.

Beginning with a few young people rehearsing in Ms. Raye’s basement and performing in an old movie theatre, Lumina has flourished and now attracts over 100 young actors from the metropolitan area.  Lumina offers many opportunities for participants:  Creative Drama for the youngest actors (ages 5-6) to the Theatre Group for adult actors. We present nine productions each season.

In 2000, David Minton joined Lumina full-time as Managing Director.  Mr. Minton’s many years as an actor and in theatre management added depth to the extensive talent and knowledge that Lumina actors were receiving from Ms. Raye.

In 2005, Lumina moved its productions to the Round House Theatre, in Silver Spring. This 150- seat black box theatre offers a professional setting that enables more challenging and sophisticated productions.  Later that year, Round House Theatre named Lumina Studio Theatre as an Arts Partner.

In 2006, the organization moved its rehearsal space, props, sets, and immense costume store under one roof at the “White House.” The additional space provided by this historic building in downtown Silver Spring enabled Lumina to increase its staff, and offer additional workshops and classes.

In 2008, Lumina mourned the passing of Jillian Raye after her long struggle with breast cancer. In spite of this devastating loss, Lumina continues to grow, as Jillian would have wanted. Her creative vision continues to be a source of inspiration to everyone in the Lumina family.

Since 1997 Lumina has worked with over 400 young actors, with 80% of our students returning from season to season. Some of our alumni have gone on to major in theatre and attend prestigious theatre schools such as NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  Many alumni also return for guest appearances in current productions, thus giving back to the next generation of Lumina students.

As Lumina Studio Theatre begins its second decade, we look forward to building on our rich heritage, advancing its unique model of youth inspired classics, and bringing high-quality performances to the community for many years to come.

Lumina Studio Theatre has received grants from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, The Maryland State Arts Council, the Abell Foundation, the MARPAT Foundation, The Takoma Foundation, the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, the Fidelity Charitable Gift Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trust, the Catalyst Foundation, AT&T Foundation, and Acorn Media.

Lumina performance image
Top: Richard III, 2007 Above: Shogun Caesar, 2008

“Shogun Caesar was a knockout triumph in every respect… This theatre company is a community treasure and is deserving of national attention and recognition.”

Jamie Raskin, Maryland State Senator