Sarah Benson is Soho Rep's New Artistic Director

Sarah Benson, the theatre director and dramaturg who has been the Associate Artistic Director of Soho Rep for the past two years, will be Soho Rep's new Artistic Director, it has been announced by Jon Dembrow, the theatre's Board Chair.

Benson -- who becomes only the fourth Artistic  Director at Soho Rep since the company was founded in 1975 -- takes over artistic leadership of Soho Rep from Daniel Aukin, who announced in May that he would be leaving the company to pursue a freelance career as a  director.

Soho Rep performs at a 74-seat theatre located at 46 Walker Street in New York  City.  The company's offices are located at  86 Franklin  Street. 

"One of the country's leading destinations for theatre that is, at once, uniquely innovative, provocative and entertaining, in recent years Soho Rep has presented premieres by Mac Wellman, Richard Maxwell, Melissa James Gibson, The Flying Machine, Madelyn Kent, Mark Schultz, Young Jean Lee and Quincy Long. Soho Rep begins its 06-07 season  October 5th with the debut of Adam Bock's new dark comedy The Thugs," according to press materials.

According to Dembrow, Benson was chosen for the Soho Rep  position from a strong field of nearly 100 applicants.  The selection was  made by a committee -- comprised of Soho Rep board members and other theatre  professionals -- led by Mr. Dembrow and including the actor/director/playwright  Tim Blake Nelson, Executive Vice President/Disney Creative Entertainment Anne Hamburger, Brooklyn Academy of Music's Executive Director Joe Melillo, playwright Mac Wellman, and composer Michael Friedman. 

A native of  the U.K., Sarah Benson moved to New York on a Fulbright Award, and has directed  and developed new plays by Erin Courtney at NY Stage and Film, Heidi Schreck at Soho Rep Lab, Jake Hooker at La MaMa ETC, along with new works by emerging playwrights Jason Grote, Jonathan Bernstein, and B. Walker Sampson.   Benson has also helmed the Prelude Festival at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center for the most recent two seasons with Frank Hentschker and has been responsible for doubling  audience attendance. In 2008, she will curate a new festival of contemporary American theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland. At Soho Rep, she has co-chaired the theatre's celebrated Writer/Director Lab.

Among her goals for Soho Rep, Benson "singles out her desire for the company to increase  programming, with more productions each season, including co-productions with  other companies to raise the national and international profile of Soho Rep, as  well she plans to expand the company's developmental work that feeds the theatre's Mainstage productions."

In recent years, Soho Rep has also been successful in  performing to one of the youngest adult audiences in NYC, with over three quarters of its audience aged 18 to 35. 

Also of note in recent seasons, Soho Rep has received 6 Village Voice Obie Awards, 4 Drama Desk  nominations and a Newsday Oppy Award. 

Alexandra Conley will continue as Soho Rep's Executive Director.

For  more information about Soho Rep, visit the company's website at  www.sohorep.org


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