K. Lorrel Manning

Acting Faculty Member

What Lights Him Up About Teaching?

I light up when I see students, no matter the age or level of skill, push past their insecurities and discover abilities that they didn't know they had. It makes it all worth it!

Proudest Career Moment

The first involves my first feature film, Happy New Year. It's a difficult film to watch for some because it's very raw. One of our screenings at South By Southwest, where the film premiered, was for a vets-only audience. I was terrified. To me, they were my biggest critics. If they didn't like the film, they would definitely let me know. As soon as the end credits started to roll, they were on their feet - a standing ovation!

Get to Know K. Lorrel

I was planning to go to college to study music. In my junior year of high school, I needed an elective to complete my schedule. The drama class was the only class available at the time I needed. So, I reluctantly signed up. It changed my life.


"Richard" in Richard III by William Shakespeare

"Walter Younger" in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

"Levee" in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by August Wilson

"Katurian" in The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh

Acting Faculty Member

K. Lorrel Manning is an award-winning writer, director, actor, and musician who works in both theatre and film. His first feature film, Happy New Year, premiered in competition at South by Southwest (SXSW) in 2011. The film, adapted from Manning's one-act play and award-winning short film of the same name, has screened at over two dozen film festivals around the world, winning a slew of awards, including the Discovery Award & Best Actor Award (Rhode Island International Film Festival), Audience Award–Best Feature (Oldenburg International Film Festival), Jury Award–Best Film (Beaufort International Film Festival), David Horowitz Media Literacy Award (Santa Fe Indie Film Festival), Best Film (North Country Film Festival), and Best Film (Peace On Earth Film Festival). The film was released digitally by Snag Films in 2013. He is currently prepping his second narrative feature film, Sheila & the Punk Rock, and two shorts - the Holocaust thriller The Red Shoes and the dramedy Nowhere - A Meditation on Life, Death & All the Sh*t in Between.

As a theatre director and playwright, Manning has worked extensively Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway. Most recently, he wrote, directed, and starred in the critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway play Awake, which received its world premiere at the Barrow Group Theatre Company. Other recent theatre work includes We Need P*rnModel Activist, and Incident #19283746 for Theatre Revolution, Midnight Cowboys for Martha's Vineyard Playhouse, and a new, critically-acclaimed adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People (co-written with Seth Barrish) for the Barrow Group.

Manning has an MFA in Film from Columbia University School of the Arts and a BFA in Drama from the University of Georgia. He is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA. He currently teaches screenwriting, directing, and advanced acting at Sarah Lawrence College.

"Working with Lorrel is refreshing and fun. He’s a coach whose insights into writing & directing have helped me connect more deeply to my characters and their specific circumstances. He’s a careful listener. He’s invested in nurturing an actor’s curiosity and imagination. And he knows exactly when to push you to explore the text and your connection to it more deeply."
Monique Gabriella Curnen (The Dark Knight, Contagion, Power)
"The best acting teacher I've ever had. No stress. He taught me that acting should be 'easy' and fun. Not tortured. Forever grateful."
Leslie Silva (Shades of Blue, Women of the Movement)
“Lorrel’s training helps you tap into what makes you unique, what makes you stand out as an actor, helping you to reveal what you, and you alone, can bring to a scene.  And tapping into that helps you to relax on camera and most importantly, have fun.”
Eddie K. Robinson (New Amsterdam, God Friended Me)