I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Vivienne Benesch, who is the Producing Artistic Director of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. At PlayMakers, she has helmed productions of LIFE OF GALILEO, LEAVING EDEN, THE MAY QUEEN, THREE SISTERS, LOVE ALONE, RED, and IN THE NEXT ROOM (OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY).
For 12 seasons, she served as Artistic Director of the renowned Chautauqua Theater Company and Conservatory, presiding over the company’s transformation into one of the best summer theatres and most competitive summer training programs in the country. She directed over fifteen productions at CTC including an acclaimed re-imagining of ROMEO AND JULIET featuring the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Theatre, Opera and Dance companies. She brought CTC’s production of AMADEUS, performed with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and Buffalo Philharmonic, to the Virginia Arts Festival featuring PlayMakers company member Ray Dooley. Vivienne has also directed for the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Trinity Repertory Company, and Red Bull Theatre, among others. In 2018, she directed the world premiere of Noah Haidle’s BIRTHDAY CANDLES for Detroit Public Theatre and will be directing it again on Broadway, starring Debra Messing in the fall of 2021. As an actress, Vivienne has worked on and off-Broadway, in film and television, at many of the country’s most celebrated theatres, and received an OBIE Award for her performance in Lee Blessing’s GOING TO ST. IVES. Vivienne is a graduate of Brown University and NYU’s Graduate Acting Program. As an educator, she has directed for and served on the faculty of some of the nation’s foremost actor training programs, including The Juilliard School, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Professional Actor Training Program, Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Program and at her alma mater, NYU’s Graduate Acting Program. She is the 2017 recipient of the Zelda Fichandler Award given by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation.
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