Iris Paul



The Curtainless Theatre

About Iris

What is your business/idea?

Utilizing revitalized classical theatre, The Curtainless Theatre strives to be a community-centered resource: our mission is to create accessible and inclusive performances that inspire reflection and community dialogue, with a special focus on civic engagement and educational outreach.

What inspired you to start a business?

The Curtainless Theatre was founded by a group of actors out of our love for Shakespearean acting, our desire to share our passion and knowledge with others, and a classical theatre shaped hole within our community. We decided to lean into our biggest barrier, not having a permanent performance venue, by embracing ourselves as a vagabond theatre.

How did you get to the point you are today with this business/idea?

As we performed and discussed the works together, we saw opportunities to relate moments within classical plays to social issues; if fact, the dated quality of the language serves to emphasize how long the issues faced by our communities have existed. Using our productions to lift up organizations working to better our society became pivotal to our mission, and was a natural pairing with our need for community partners for performance space.

What is your vision for the future of your business?

I hope for The Curtainless Theatre’s productions to attract positive attention and tourism to the Lansing area, bringing economic support to our community partners and local eateries. We would like to share the knowledge we gain form performing classical theatre through educational outreach and serve as an asset to Greater Lansing Area school districts.

What goals do you hope the One and All program will help you achieve?

My background is in acting, and while a love for the arts is a crucial element to this work, you can’t run a business on passion alone. I’m optimistic that the One&All program will help me develop a foundational understanding of business management, as well as deeper knowledge of fund development, marketing, and strategic planning.

Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?

I’ve been motivated to do as much as I can to support and better the world since the birth of my daughter. I’m excited for the skills the One&All program will give me for my work within the theatre and educational communities, while also developing a strong foundation in community development as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, and I’ll begin studying Environmental Studies and Sustainability at MSU this fall.


Watch Iris’s business pitch: