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C. Meranda Flachs-Surmanek

Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP)
  • Theatre's Directing & Public Dialogue program

Born and raised in Queens, New York, C. Meranda Flachs-Surmanek is working toward a future where creativity, community building, and care are part of our social fabric. They are a civically-engaged artist, theater maker, urban planner, and skilled facilitator whose work inspires dialogue, connection, and community well-being. C. specializes in documentary theater, facilitates community-based story projects, and holds space for healing-centered dialogue. Through their consulting practice, Building Belonging, C. custom designs forums for open creative expression that increase our sense of purpose, belonging, and value in and to our broader communities. As a theater artist with training in urban & regional planning, C. works individually, relationally, and systemically to further equity and justice in the social sector.

C. is an Adjunct Instructor with the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech and Artist-in-Residence with the Dr. Robert L. A. Keeley Healing Arts Program at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, VA. They collaborate with the arts-in-healthcare focused ensemble The Clinic Performance and award-winning theater Ping Chong + Company. Their dual-degree master’s in Urban & Regional Planning and Theatre’s Directing & Public Dialogue programs is a first of its kind endeavor at Virginia Tech.

C. is a recent NEW AESTHETICS Fellow with Theatre Replacement and Visiting Fellow at Skidmore College’s MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute. They were a SU-CASA Artist-in-Residence with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Social Practice Artist-in-Residence with ProjectArt, Fellow at The Performance Project at University Settlement, EmergeNYC Fellow at the Hemispheric Institute for Performance & Politics and Fellow with The Art & Law Program. C. has trained with the Anti Oppression Resource & Training Alliance (AORTA), The Art & Law Program, Double Edge Theatre, the Center for Artistic Activism’s Art Action Academy, the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, and New York University's Studio Art and Art & Public Politics Department.

Current projects are supported by the Actors Theatre of Louisville and Kentucky Nurses Association; the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech; the Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology at Virginia Tech, and the Oncology Nursing Foundation.

Research Interests

  •  Arts in Public Health
  • Community Cultural Development
  • Community Health and Wellbeing
  • Civic Practice
  • Creative Placemaking and Placekeeping
  • Documentary Theatre
  • Devised and Ensemble Theatre
  • Healing-Centered and Trauma-Informed Facilitation
  • Methodologies in Research-Creation
  • Theatre of the Oppressed
  • Theatrical Jazz
  • Performed Ethnography