Orion Johnstone

Orion Stephanie Johnstone is a queer, non-binary, human/composer/theatermaker/organizer with a ferocious commitment to our collective liberation.

Their acclaimed, music-drenched, highly collaborative theater work is rooted in conversations about intersectional anti-oppression, and has been featured at venues including CSC, HERE Arts Center, 3LD, Joe’s Pub, and NYMF. Most recently, they were a contributing composer and music supervisor for the TEAM’s Primer For a Failed Superpower, alongside director Rachel Chavkin, and they co-directed Diana Oh’s {my lingerie play}: The Concert and Call to Arms!!!!!!!!! at Rattlestick in the fall of 2017. A graduate of NYU/Tisch, they have held residencies at Pace, UArts, and Montclair State Universities, and they were the youngest member of the New Dramatists’ Composer/Librettist Studio in 2006. Also a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and conductor, they have worked with Anais Mitchell, Liz Swados, and Taylor Mac (among others). They spent 2008 in Prague collaborating with Czech gypsy/folk band Tripura, and they were the associate music director of the national tour of War Horse. Their queer-politics-focused album, Love Songs For the Rest of Us, was developed through house concert/conversations in living rooms across the United States.

Also a thought leader in the realm of sexuality-from-a-place-of-wholeness, they have allied with TORCH, the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History, and the Planned Parenthood Activist Council, interviews with them have been featured in publications from C-Realm to Playboy, and their sex and relationships coaching practice is now entering its fifth year. Their vibrantly popular podcast, Sex For Smart People* (*that means you!), is dedicated to contextualizing ideas about sex and dating within a larger social justice framework and can be found on iTunes and Stitcher. They are the Chief Director of Content/Community Architect for a radically inclusive new dating app for kinky people, which will be launched in 2017.

As an organizer/community builder, they recently catalyzed a queer/trans community choir in NYC (Full Moon), in alliance with the Moon Show (an anti-racist, queer, trans, intersectional, intergenerational performance series). Their other radically inclusive choir group, Everybody Now!, aims to increase widespread collective confidence with singing and to amplify the voice of direct actions not just in volume, but also in beauty and power. They were also a part of the core visioning team for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, a national (though not federally-affiliated) department committed to upturning consumer culture with a robust culture of creativity and exploding constraining notions of where, how, and why art happens. In August of 2016, they were a founding member of a new alternative divinity school for soulful community builders, with an emphasis on Queering as a spiritual practice, and they are currently studying with Rev. Donna Schaper in the Justice Ministries program of Auburn Seminary.