Melissa Lourie received her M.F.A in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. She worked in West Coast Regional Theater, playing such roles as Petra, in Charles Marowitz's adaptation of An Enemy of the People at Los Angeles Actors Theater, Ophelia in Hamlet and Julia in Two Gentlemen of Verona at Garden Grove Shakespeare Festival, Dorine in Tartuffe at San Jose Rep, and Henriette in The Learned Ladies at Arizona Theater Company. In 1987, Melissa returned to the East Coast and founded Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, with her friend Terrence O'Brien, in Cold Spring, NY. The Festival has since grown to be one of the most important Shakespeare Festivals in the Northeast, serving over 35,000 patrons in 2013 and operating an education program that reaches nearly 40,000 students annually. Lourie was the Producing Director for 7 years before moving to Vermont.
In Vermont, Melissa has played a variety of roles at Vermont Stage Company, including Margarethe in Copenhagen and Goneril in King Lear. Lourie is also the Artistic Director of Middlebury Actors Workshop, which she founded in 2001 with local theater professionals Steve Small and Harry McEnerny. At M.A.W., Lourie has acted in many productions and directed Speed-The-Plow, The Bald Soprano, Cyrano, The Fox, Of Mice and Men, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and Richard III, among others.
Melissa is a featured actress in Jay Craven's film A Stranger In The Kingdom, and has roles in Dave Giancola film's Moving Targets and Icebreaker.