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Boston Playwrights' Theatre Appoints Megan Sandberg-Zakian as New Artistic Director

Sandberg-Zakian is a Boston-based theatre director, author and facilitator. She replaces Kate Snodgrass, who retired this summer after 35 years at Boston University.

Boston Playwrights' Theatre Appoints Megan Sandberg-Zakian as New Artistic Director

Boston Playwrights' Theatre, the professional producing arm of Boston University's M.F.A. Playwriting Program, has announced the appointment of Megan Sandberg-Zakian as its new Artistic Director. Sandberg-Zakian officially assumes the role this week.

"As a Boston resident and lover of new plays, I know firsthand the critical impact of Boston Playwrights' Theatre on our local creative ecosystem. I am thrilled and honored to carry forward, and to build on, the incredible legacy of longtime Artistic Director Kate Snodgrass," Sandberg-Zakian says. "Nurturing plays and playwrights has been at the center of my creative life since my first job out of college teaching 'playmaking' classes to nine-year-old writers at The 52nd Street Project in Hell's Kitchen, NYC. After two decades directing new work around the country, it feels like a long-awaited homecoming to be entrusted with the leadership of BPT."

Sandberg-Zakian is a Boston-based theatre director, author and facilitator. She replaces Kate Snodgrass, who retired this summer after 35 years at Boston University.

"I have long admired Megan's work both as a theatre director and as an author," former Artistic Director of BPT Kate Snodgrass says. "Her book There Must Be Happy Endings: On a Theater of Optimism and Honesty speaks to the way she moves in the world as a person and as an artist. Adding to that, she's simply brilliant. She will share these wonderful qualities with our playwrights and our audiences alike, and I can't help but feel she will raise the new play bar to the highest of standards. I'm thankful and honored that she said 'Yes,' and I'm more than excited about BPT's future!"

Snodgrass' dual role of Professor of the Practice of Playwriting and Artistic Director of BPT was split into two positions; nationally-renowned playwright and screenwriter Nathan Alan Davis assumed the role of Associate Professor of the Practice of Playwriting in July, as previously announced.

"Megan Sandberg-Zakian is a visionary theater artist and an inspiring, empowering leader," Davis says. "As she assumes the role of Artistic Director, Megan brings to BPT a wealth of experience, both locally and nationally, in the development and direction of new plays. Her artist-centered and process-oriented approach, her demonstrated commitment to justice and equity, and the value she places on mentorship will be a treasure to the theatre, the M.F.A. Playwriting Program, and the community at-large. I am thrilled to work alongside her as BPT begins its next chapter."

Sandberg-Zakian has a long association with BPT. In 2011, she directed BPT Founder Derek Walcott's Ti-Jean and His Brothers, a co-production between BPT and Cambridge's Underground Railway Theater. The production commemorated the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and celebrated BPT's thirtieth anniversary. She has also directed for BPT's outreach programs-the Boston Theater Marathon (an annual ten-hour festival of ten-minute plays) and the Massachusetts Young Playwrights' Project, which exposes Boston-area high school students to the world of professional theatre through the creation of short plays.

Most recently, Sandberg-Zakian directed Commonwealth Shakespeare Company's acclaimed production of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, which played on the Boston Common this summer. Additional directing credits include Nat Turner in Jerusalem (New York Theatre Workshop), House of Joy (California Shakespeare Theatre), Skeleton Crew (Huntington Theatre Company) and Mr. Parent (The Lyric Stage Company of Boston).

Davis and Sandberg-Zakian have collaborated on two world premieres of Davis' plays (Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea at Cleveland Public Theatre and Nat Turner in Jerusalem at New York Theatre Workshop) and will launch a third, The High Ground, at Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage this winter.

"Nathan is an educator of extraordinary integrity and inventiveness. As a playwright, his impressively varied body of work offers us a potent and instructive collision of history and poetry," Sandberg-Zakian says. "I am very excited to see what the two of us can build together at BPT."

ABOUT BOSTON PLAYWRIGHTS' THEATRE

Boston Playwrights' Theatre (BPT) is an award-winning professional theatre at Boston University (BU) dedicated to new works. Founded in 1981 by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, the heart of BPT's mission is the production of new plays by students and alumni of BU's M.F.A. Playwriting Program-a collaboration with BU's renowned School of Theatre. The program's award-winning alumni have been produced in regional and New York houses, as well as in London's West End. BPT's productions have been honored with numerous regional and Boston awards, including awards from the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) and Boston Critics' Association (Elliot Norton Awards).

INSTITUTIONAL BIOGRAPHY

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school's research and teaching mission. Established in 1954, Boston University College of Fine Arts is a top-tier fine arts institution. Comprised of the School of Music, School of Theatre, and School of Visual Arts, CFA offers professional training in the arts in conservatory-style environments for undergraduate and graduate students, complemented by a liberal arts curriculum for undergraduate students.

ABOUT Megan Sandberg-Zakian

Megan Sandberg-Zakian is a theater director, author and facilitator with a passion for the development of vital new American plays for the stage and the ear. Favorite recent directing projects include Nat Turner in Jerusalem (New York Theatre Workshop), House of Joy (California Shakespeare Theatre), Skeleton Crew (Huntington Theatre Company), Mr. Parent (The Lyric Stage Company of Boston) and Audible Originals Rapture Season and Evil Eye (Audie Award for Best Original Work; Gracie Award for Original Online Programming). Her book, There Must Be Happy Endings: On a Theater of Optimism and Honesty is available from The 3rd Thing Press. Megan is the co-founder of creative leadership consultancy Humanstudio and a co-founder of Maia Directors which supports artists and organizations engaging with stories from the Middle East and beyond. She is a graduate of Brown University and holds an M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. Megan has taught classes and workshops at Brown University, Yale University, Harvard University and Northeastern University. She is a recipient of the Princess Grace Theater Award and the TCG Future Leaders fellowship, an alumna of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and a proud member of SDC, the union for professional stage directors and choreographers. Megan lives in Jamaica Plain, MA, with her wife Candice.

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