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Artistic Director Braden Abraham to Depart Seattle Rep for Writers Theatre in Chicago

Artistic Director Braden Abraham to Depart Seattle Rep for Writers Theatre in Chicago

Abraham served as Associate Artistic Director for seven years before assuming artistic leadership of the Theater in 2014. 

After 20 years with the company, Artistic Director Braden Abraham will depart Seattle Rep this winter to join Writers Theatre in Chicago as their new Artistic Director.

Braden Abraham joined Seattle Rep in 2002, starting as an artistic intern, then holding several positions on the artistic staff. He served as Associate Artistic Director for seven years before assuming artistic leadership of the Theater in 2014.

"What we have achieved at Seattle Rep over the past eight years I've served as Artistic Director alongside Managing Director Jeffrey Herrmann is everything I had hoped for and more," Braden Abraham said. "During that time, we have nearly doubled the Theater's operating budget, launched a multi-year campaign to advance key strategic priorities, remodeled performance venues and public spaces, invested in new work and arts engagement, and created many memorable productions."

Braden launched Seattle Rep's Public Works, making Seattle Rep one of the first partner theaters to bring The Public Theater's Public Works program outside of New York. He re-envisioned the New Play Program, commissioning and premiering plays by Anna Zeigler, David Grimm, Justin Huertas, Samantha Silva, Cheryl L. West, and Karen Hartman, and supported the work of dozens of playwrights and directors through the Other Season development lab. Many projects developed through this program have gone on to acclaimed runs at Seattle Rep and around the country, including Come From Away (Broadway), Bruce, Shout Sister Shout!, Roz and Ray, Mac Beth (off-Broadway), and Pride and Prejudice. Under his artistic leadership, Seattle Rep was the only theater outside New York and London to present David Byrne and Fat Boy Slim's Here Lies Love at a scale not seen in those two cities.

Most recently, Braden initiated 20x30: Reimagining the Anthropocene, a program to commission twenty new plays by the year 2030; and New Directions, a unique commissioning program designed to support generative work from directors. He directed over 20 productions for Seattle Rep, including True West, Clybourne Park, Photograph 51, Ibsen in Chicago, Betrayal, Luna Gale, A View from the Bridge, A Great Wilderness, Breakin' Hearts and Takin' Names, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. He has worked around the country developing new work with Ojai, The O'Neill, Denver Center, Portland Center Stage, and Perseverance Theater. His final production with Seattle Rep will be this holiday season's Mr. Dickens and His Carol, a world-premiere commission playing November 25 through December 23, 2022, which he will also direct.

"When I arrived here as an artistic intern in 2002, I never would have believed in my wildest dreams that I would stay for twenty years and have the privilege of leading the company through such a tremendously influential period of artistic success, growing audiences, and strengthened connection to community alongside a diverse group of staff, artists, and board members. I'm deeply grateful to all of them, along with the volunteers, donors, and audiences of Seattle Rep. This generous, independently minded, and adventurous community has nurtured and supported me and my work, and shaped who I am. I'm incredibly proud of what we have collectively achieved during my time as artistic director."

Braden will officially take over as Artistic Director for Writers Theatre on February 1, 2023. Writers Theatre is a Midwest cultural destination, having been called "America's finest regional theater company" by Terry Teachout, drama critic for The Wall Street Journal. The organization serves 60,000 patrons each season and is heralded for producing inventive interpretations of classics to groundbreaking new work in a trademark intimate style.

Managing Director Jeffrey Herrmann said, "Braden has been a terrific partner over the past eight years. His work as an artist, director, producer, and institutional leader has benefitted this organization and our community in so many lasting ways. Braden will be missed by me and by the Seattle Rep family and the broader Seattle theater sector, but this is an extraordinary opportunity for him and I know that the Chicago theater community will benefit mightily from his addition. This transition also represents a unique opportunity for Seattle Rep. I know this position will attract tremendous interest from artists across the country and internationally and I look forward to embarking on the search for Seattle Rep's next creative leader, who will boldly take this organization into its seventh decade of activity."

Seattle Rep Board of Trustees Chair Nancy Ward said, "The Board of Trustees celebrates with gratitude Braden's 20-year tenure with Seattle Rep and the diverse artistic excellence he has curated on our stages over the past eight years. We are excited for the next chapter of our artistic journey and have every confidence in a thriving future as we pursue our vision of theater at the heart of public life."

Following the world-premiere production of Mr. Dickens and His Carol, Braden will be at Seattle Rep through January 20, 2023. Over the coming weeks, Seattle Rep's Board of Trustees will form a hiring committee to lead the search for the company's next Artistic Director. Keep up with the search progress at SeattleRep.org.

ABOUT Seattle Rep

Seattle Rep puts theater at the heart of public life. Founded in 1963 and winner of the 1990 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, Seattle Rep is currently led by Artistic Director Braden Abraham and Managing Director Jeffrey Herrmann. Over a season and throughout the year, Seattle Rep collaborates with extraordinary artists to create productions and programs that reflect and elevate the diverse cultures, perspectives, and life experiences of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle Rep's nationally recognized programs include the New Play Program, Seattle Rep's Public Works, Youth Engagement programming, Pay What You Choose ticketing options, and numerous audience enrichment and engagement opportunities including post-play panels, discussions, and community events and presentations.




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