Braden Abraham Named Acting Artistic Director of Seattle Rep
Seattle Repertory Theatre's Board of Trustees announced today Braden Abraham's appointment as Acting Artistic Director, effective immediately. Abraham formerly served as Associate Artistic Director and has been on the artistic staff of Seattle Rep since 2003. The appointment, extending through June 30, 2016, comes on the heels of the death of Artistic Director Jerry Manning, who passed away suddenly in April.
"Anyone who knew Jerry knew his generous heart," stated Abraham. "I was extremely lucky to call him a mentor for 12 years, during which time we redefined the artistic vision for this organization with an abundance of new work, a personal passion for both of us. His guidance has prepared me to step into this new role at Seattle Rep, and I look forward to building upon the strong foundation we created and adding my own imprint as we move forward."
Abraham added: "There will be no changes made to the previously announced 2014-2015 season. The Rep's artistic team worked very hard to put together this ambitious roster of plays, and as an organization, we are more committed than ever to produce it in dedication to Jerry."
A lifelong Washingtonian, Braden Abraham grew up in the San Juan Islands and received a B.A. in English from Western Washington University. He has had the unique experience of working for three artistic directors at Seattle Rep. In 2002 he served as an artistic intern, and the following year he was hired for a full time artistic position by Sharon Ott. From 2005-2008, Abraham worked closely with David Esbjornson, and when Jerry Manning took the helm in 2008, he was promoted to Associate Artistic Director. Under Manning's leadership, Abraham became an integral part of the season planning team. He helped re-envision the New Play Program, starting the Writers Group for local playwrights and bringing exciting new voices such as Samuel D. Hunter, Laura Schellhardt, and Anna Ziegler to the Rep. He advocated for the adaptation of Kirsten Grind's book The Lost Bank and a new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's The Enemy of the People, both of which are under development at the Rep.
An accomplished director, Abraham's credits for the Rep include Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Samuel D. Hunter's A Great Wilderness, Anna Ziegler's Photograph 51, Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park, Michael Hollinger's Opus, Harold Pinter's Betrayal, Melissa James Gibson's This, Laura Schellhardt's The K of D, an urban legend, Breakin' Hearts and Takin' Names by Kevin Kling and Simone Perrin, and My Name is Rachel Corrie, adapted by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner. Other directing credits include Marya Sea Kaminski's Riddled (Richard Hugo House), Tommy Smith's White Hot (Marxiano Productions, West of Lenin), Laura Schellhardt's The K of D, an urban legend (Pistol Cat Productions, FringeNYC Encore Series, Illusion Theater), Paul Mullin's The Ten Thousand Things (Washington Ensemble Theatre), and Vincent Delaney's Kuwait (Theatre Schmeater). Abraham has developed plays with Seattle Rep, The O'Neill Playwrights Conference, Ojai Playwrights Conference, The Denver Center, The William Inge Theater Festival, Portland Center Stage, The Playwrights Center, and New Century Theatre Company. He has been a guest artist at Stanford University, Gonzaga University, the University of Idaho, and Seattle University.
Incoming managing director Jeffrey Herrmann commented: "The unexpected loss of Jerry fills me with even greater resolve as I prepare to join the Rep this summer, and I am so looking forward to partnering with Braden to lead the Theatre forward. Braden's artistry, character, and deep knowledge of the Rep and Seattle's artistic community will make him a tremendous success as he carves his own path as an artistic leader."
Strengthening the transition in leadership is a long-tenured senior management team including Producing Director Elisabeth Farwell-Moreland, Director of External Relations Katie Jackman, and Director of Finance & Operations Rachel Robert.
"We are confident that Jeffrey and Braden, with the full support of the Board and Rep staff, will make a formidable team as they lead the Rep forward into a new era of the organization's history," stated Shauna Woods, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. "Their combined leadership experience, passion for the theatre, and strong background in new play development will be great assets to the Rep."