Boston Playwrights’ Theatre announces new AD

BOSTON—Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (BPT), the professional producing arm of Boston University’s MFA Playwriting Program, today announces 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 MFA 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.”