The Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, the professional production arm of Boston University’s MFA Playwriting Program, has announced the appointment of Megan Sandberg-Zakian as its new artistic director. Sandberg-Zakian officially takes on the role this week.
“As a Boston resident and lover of new plays, I know firsthand the critical impact of the Boston Playwrights’ Theater on our local creative ecosystem. I’m thrilled and honored to continue and build on longtime Artistic Director Kate’s incredible legacy with Snowgrass,” says Sandberg-Zakian. “Promoting plays and playwrights has been at the center of my creative life since my first job out of college teaching ‘Theatre Making’ classes to nine-year-old writers at The 52nd Street Project in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC. After two decades of directing new work across the country, it feels like a long-awaited homecoming to be entrusted with the leadership of BPT.”
Sandberg-Zakian is a Boston-based theater director, writer, and host. She replaces Kate Snodgrass, who retired this summer after 35 years at Boston University.
“I’ve long admired Megan’s work, both as a theater director and as a writer,” says Kate Snodgrass, former Artistic Director of BPT. “Her book There Must Be Happy Endings: On a Theater of Optimism and Honesty talks about how she moves in the world as a person and as an artist. Beyond that, she’s just brilliant. She will share these wonderful qualities with our playwrights and our audiences alike, and I can’t help but think she’ll elevate the new playbar to the highest standards. I am grateful and honored that she said yes and I am beyond excited for the future of BPT! “
Snodgrass’ dual roles as Professor of the Practice of Playwriting and Artistic Director of the 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,” says Davis. “In taking on the role of Artistic Director, Megan brings to BPT a wealth of experience developing and directing new plays, both locally and nationally. Her artist-centric and process-oriented approach, her proven commitment to equity and justice, and the value she places on mentorship will be a treasure to theatre, the MFA Playwriting Program and the community at large. I am very excited to be working with her as BPT begins its next chapter.”
Sandberg-Zakian has a long association with BPT. In 2011 she directed Ti-Jean and His Brothers by BPT founder Derek Walcott, a co-production between BPT and the Underground Railway Theater in Cambridge. The production commemorated the 2010 Haiti earthquake and celebrated BPT’s thirtieth anniversary. She has also directed the BPT’s outreach programs — the Boston Theater Marathon (an annual ten-hour festival featuring ten-minute plays) and the Massachusetts Young Playwrights’ Project, which introduces Boston-area high school students to the world of professional theater creation of short plays.
Last, Sandberg-Zakian directed the acclaimed production of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, staged by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company at the Boston Common this summer. Other directing credits include Nat Turner in Jerusalem (New York Theater Workshop), House of Joy (California Shakespeare Theatre), Skeleton Crew (Huntington Theater 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 the Cleveland Public Theater and Nat Turner in Jerusalem at the New York Theater Workshop). and will present a third, The High Ground, at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC this winter.
“Nathan is an educator of exceptional integrity and inventiveness. As a playwright, his impressively diverse body of work offers us a powerful and instructive collision of story and poetry.” says Sandberg-Zakian. “I’m very excited to see what we can build together at BPT.”
ABOUT THE THEATER OF THE BOSTON PLAYWIGHTS
Boston Playwrights’ Theater (BPT) is an award-winning professional theater at Boston University (BU) dedicated to new works. Founded in 1981 by Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, BPT’s mission is the production of new plays by students and graduates of BU’s MFA Playwriting Program – a collaboration with BU’s renowned School of Theatre. The program’s award-winning alumni were produced in local and New York houses, as well as in London’s West End. BPT’s productions have received numerous regional and Boston awards, including awards from the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) and the Boston Critics’ Association (Elliot Norton Awards).
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU is made up of 17 colleges and schools and a number of multidisciplinary centers and institutes that are central to the school’s research and teaching mission. Founded in 1954, Boston University College of Fine Arts is a premier fine arts institution. Comprised of the School of Music, the School of Theater and the School of Visual Arts, the CFA provides professional education in the arts in conservatory settings for undergraduate and graduate students, complemented by a liberal arts curriculum for undergraduate students.
Megan Sandberg-Zakian is a theater director, writer and presenter with a passion for creating groundbreaking new American plays for the stage and the ear. Recent popular directing projects include Nat Turner in Jerusalem (New York Theater Workshop), House of Joy (California Shakespeare Theatre), Skeleton Crew (Huntington Theater 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 Ends: On a Theater of Optimism and Honesty is available from The 3rd Thing Press. Megan is co-founder of Creative Leadership Consulting human studio and co-founder of Maia directors which supports artists and organizations dealing with stories from the Middle East and beyond. She is a graduate of Brown University and has an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. Megan has taught courses and workshops at Brown University, Yale University, Harvard University and Northeastern University. She is the recipient of the Princess Grace Theater Award and the TCG Future Leaders Fellowship, a graduate of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and a proud member of the SDC, the union for professional stage directors and choreographers. Megan lives in Jamaica Plain, MA with her wife Candice.