Michael Barakiva Named Artistic Director of Cleveland Play House

He began his tenure as the tenth artistic director of Cleveland Play House in December 2023.

By: Dec. 07, 2023
Michael Barakiva Named Artistic Director of Cleveland Play House

Michael Barakiva has been named the new Artistic Director of Cleveland Play House!

Barakiva is an Armenian-Israeli American director and writer who has staged new plays, revivals, and classics in New York City and around the country. He began his tenure as the tenth artistic director of Cleveland Play House in December 2023.

He directed CPH’s critically acclaimed production of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. He also served as co-director of CPH’s world premiere production of Ken Ludwig’s Moriarty: A New Sherlock Holmes Adventure.

In addition to the CPH productions, Barakiva’s work has been seen at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Primary Stages, Syracuse Stage, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and the Hangar Theatre, where he served as Artistic Director.

He founded The Upstart Creatures, a theatre company that creates community through performance and food, as well as the Leadership Initiative Project, which equips historically excluded artists with the tools to succeed in leadership positions.

Barakiva has received three Drama League directing fellowships, the Phil Killian Directing Fellowship (OSF), the David Merrick Prize in Drama, and was a Granada Artist-in-Residence at UC Davis. He led a week-long workshop on musical theatre at the International Puppet Theater in Sofia, Bulgaria, and was a presenter at the International University Theatre Festival at UNAM in Mexico City.

He served as producer of Summer Camp 6 (Soho Rep) and as the Readings and Workshops Coordinator at New York Stage and Film, as well as a Primary Coach on Season 2 of MTV’s Made.

As a writer, Barakiva is the recipient of a Red Bull Commission for his adaptation of John Milton's Paradise Lost, an EST/Sloan Project Commission, and a co-author of String Theory (Connotation Press).

His young adult novels have been named to the Rainbow List, Equality Family Council Reading List, The Barnes and Noble’s Perfect Valentine’s Day YA Novels list, spending over a year as Goodreads #1 LGBTQ YA Novel. Education: Vassar College, The Juilliard School.



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