Six Directors Selected for Sundance Institute | LUMA Foundation

New York, NY — Six theatre directors will participate in the third Sundance Institute | LUMA Foundation Theatre Directors Retreat in Arles, France, July 31 through August 12. The Retreat is part of the Institute’s year-round work with the theatre community and is one of 24 residency Labs the Institute hosts each year for independent artists in theatre, film, new media and episodic content.

Under the supervision of Theatre Program Artistic Director Philip Himberg, Producing Director Christopher Hibma and Program Associate Anne Kauffman, the Retreat is the only theatre director-centered residency of its kind. The 12-day artist retreat complements other Theatre Program initiatives by providing specific resources to directors in the field, including meeting the identified need for more opportunities to exchange ideas and practices with other mid-career, freelance directors.

Philip Himberg, Artistic Director of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, said, “We are excited to continue our third collaborative year with the LUMA Foundation, which augments our long and deep history supporting playwrights. It is rare for directors to find opportunities to share experiences, re-group and find inspiration for upcoming projects. The retreat provides a forum for conversation among mid-career directors, and a bucolic landscape in which to prepare for upcoming production.”

Directors selected for the 2015 Sundance Institute | LUMA Foundation Theatre Directors Retreat are:

Daniel Fish is a New York-based director who makes work across the boundaries of theatre, video and opera. His work has been seen at theatres and festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe, including Festival TransAmériques, BAM Next Wave Festival, Noorderzon Festival, The Chocolate Factory, The Public Theater’s Under The Radar, Opera Philadelphia/Curtis Opera Theater, American Repertory Theater, Richard B. Fisher Center at Bard College, Yale Repertory Theater, McCarter Theater, Signature Theater, The Shakespeare Theater Company, The Juilliard School, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Staatstheater Braunschweig, and The Royal Shakespeare Company. Residencies and commissions include The MacDowell Colony, Baryshnikov Arts Center, The Chocolate Factory,  LMCC/ Governor’s Island and The Bushwick Starr. He has taught at The Juilliard School, The Yale School of Drama, Bard College, and Princeton University.

Michael John Garcés has worked as a freelance director, writer and performer in New York for 16 years and been the Artistic Director of Cornerstone Theatre Company, a community-engaged ensemble in Los Angeles, since 2006. He is also a company member at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC. For Cornerstone, Michael has directed California: The Tempest, Plumas Negras, Café Vida, Making Paradise, La Puma, 3 Truths, Someday, attraction, and The Falls (a co-production with the Guthrie Theater). He has written two plays for the company, Consequence and Los Illegals, created in residence with communities of day laborers and domestic workers. Other recent productions he has directed include Wrestling Jerusalem (Intersection for the Arts and Playmakers Rep; upcoming at The Guthrie Theatre) and The Body of an American (Wilma Theatre). Michael is on the executive board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). He is a recipient of the Rockwood Arts and Culture Fellowship, the Princess Grace Statue, the Alan Schneider Director Award, a TCG/New Generations Grant, and a Drama League Directors Project grant. Also a playwright, he is an alumnus of New Dramatists.

Anne Kauffman is a Sundance Institute Theatre Program Associate, a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, an alumna of the Soho Rep Writers and Directors Lab, a current member of Soho Rep’s Artistic Council, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, The Drama League of New York, a founding member of The Civilians, an Associate Artist with Clubbed Thumb and member of New Georges Kitchen Cabinet. She is described by the New York Times as “one of the leading lights of downtown theater.” Anne has directed at most major New York non-profit and regional theaters. Her recent credits include Buzzer (The Public Theater), The Nether (MCC), and You Got Older (P73 Productions), a Drama Desk Nomination for Best Director, Smokefall (The Goodman Theater, South Coast Rep), 100 Days (Z Space), a TBA Nomination for Best Director of a Musical, Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra (Playwrights Horizons) and The Muscles in our Toes (Labyrinth Theater Company). Anne’s awards include an Obie Award for the Thugs, and Obie for Sustained Excellence, the Joan and Joseph Cullman Award for Exceptional Creativity from Lincoln Center, the Alan Schneider Director Award and several Barrymore Awards for Best Director and Best Production.

Robert O’Hara has received the NAACP Best Director Award, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, two OBIEs and the Oppenheimer Award. He directed the world premieres of Nikkole Salter and Dania Gurira’s In the Continuum, The Brother/Sister Plays (Part Two), Wild with Happy as well as his own plays, Booty Candy and Insurrection: Holding History. His new plays, Zombie: The American and Barbecue, will world premiere this year at Woolly Mammoth Theater and New York Shakespeare Festival, respectively. He is currently the Mellon Playwright in Residence at Woolly Mammoth Theater.

Rebecca Taichman is a New York-based director with an active career around the country. Her upcoming work in New York includes Familiar (Playwrights Horizons) and Indecent (The Vineyard/a co-production with YRT and La Jolla). Upcoming work regionally includes Winter’s Tale, Cymbeline, Twelfth Night and Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare Theater Company); Winter’s Tale, Twelfth Night and Sleeping Beauty Wakes (McCarter Theatre). Her off-Broadway credits include Sarah Ruhl’s The Oldest Boy (Lincoln Center), Stage Kiss (Playwrights Horizons), Rappaccini’s Daughter (Gotham Chamber Opera), Luck of the Irish (LCT3), Milk Like Sugar (Playwrights Horizons), Orlando (Classic Stage Company), Dark Sisters (Music Theater Group/Gotham Chamber Opera at John Jay), Orpheus (New York City Opera), The Scene (Second Stage) and Menopausal Gentleman (world premiere) that received Special Citation Obie Award at The Ohio Theatre. She is a Henry Crown Fellow, TCG New Generations Grant Recipient with Woolly Mammoth, Drama League Directing Fellow and a Yale School of Drama graduate.

Blanka Zizka is the Founding Artistic Director of The Wilma Theater, since 1981. In the fall of 2011, Blanka received the Zelda Fichandler Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, which recognizes an outstanding director or choreographer transforming the regional arts landscape. For the past three years, she has been developing practices and programs for local theater artists to create working conditions that support creativity through continuity and experimentation. She has organized nine compensated advanced training workshops for dozens of Philadelphia artists with the goal of creating an ensemble of actors surrounding the Wilma Theater. Most recently, Blanka directed Hamlet, Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq, Under the Whaleback, Angels in America, Our Class, In the Next Room, and Macbeth. Blanka has directed over 60 plays and musicals at the Wilma.


The Sundance Institute Theatre Program is supported by an endowment from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, with generous additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Time Warner Foundation;
Perry and Martin Granoff; LUMA Foundation; the John and Marcia Price Family Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; Wendy vanden Heuvel; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; Karen Lauder; and Joan and George Hornig.


Sundance Institute Theatre Program
The Theatre Program has been a core component of Sundance Institute since Robert Redford founded the Institute in 1981. The Theatre Program identifies and assists emerging theatre artists, contributes to the creative growth of established artists, and encourages and supports the development of new work for the stage. Under the guidance of Artistic Director Philip Himberg and Producing Director Christopher Hibma, the Theatre Program is one of the leading play development programs in the United States. Titles such as Appropriate, Fun Home, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Circle Mirror Transformation, An Iliad, The Lily’s Revenge, The Good Negro, The Light in the Piazza, Passing Strange, Stuck Elevator, Spring Awakening, The Laramie Project and I Am My Own Wife have gone from Theatre Program Labs to production from coast to coast and internationally, garnering multiple Pulitzers, Tonys, OBIEs and other recognition. The Theatre Program’s International Initiative currently offers Labs, cross-cultural exchange, mentorship and exposure to artists primarily in the Middle East & North Africa and continuing support for artists in six East African countries. The Theatre Program’s newest initiatives are the Theatre Directors Retreat in France and the Playwrights Studio at Flying Point.

Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

The LUMA Foundation
The LUMA Foundation was established by Maja Hoffmann in 2004 to support the activities of independent artists and pioneers, as well as institutions working in the fields of art and photography, publishing, documentary, and multimedia. The foundation commissions and produces challenging artistic projects combining a particular interest in environmental issues, human rights, education, and culture in the broadest sense. The LUMA Foundation and LUMA Arles, founded in 2014 in support of the Arles project, are currently developing an experimental cultural center in the Parc des Ateliers in the city of Arles, France, working with a core group of artistic consultants (Tom Eccles, Liam Gillick, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno and Beatrix Ruf) and the architects Frank Gehry and Annabelle Selldorf. This ambitious project envisions an interdisciplinary center dedicated to the production of exhibitions and ideas, research, education, and archives and is supported by a growing number of public and private partnerships. Construction started after the ground-breaking ceremony in April 2014; the opening of the main building on site is scheduled for 2018, while an artistic programme is already presented every summer in the refurbished former railway warehouses. On view this summer: Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler, Parc des Ateliers, Arles (France), 6 July – 20 September 2015.


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