Meet the Participants of the Sundance Institute LUMA Foundation Theatre Director Retreat

What could be better than attending a 12-day theater directors retreat run by the Sundance Institute and the Zurich-based LUMA Foundation? How about attending the retreat in the ancient Roman city of Arles, France? 

You better believe it.

In 2013, Sundance's theater program launched the Sundance Institute | LUMA Foundation Theatre Directors Retreat with the goal of supporting theater's most promising directors. The retreat is by invitation only and only six directors made the cut. But before we look at this year's participants, let's first explore what these winners can expect. 

The retreat, which complements other initiatives under Sundance's Theatre Program umbrella—initiatives that include, but are not limited to, its Playwright's Retreat at Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, plus Theatre Labs at Sundance Resort in Utah and Mass Moca in North Adams, MA—provides a platform for directors to exchange ideas with other mid-career freelance directors. Artistic Director Philip Himberg, Producing Director Christopher Hibma and Program Associate Anne Kauffman lead the retreat.

The other player in the equation is the LUMA Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports contemporary artists and professionals working in the fields of art, photography, publishing, documentary, and multimedia.

Here are the six winners.

Daniel Fish, a New York-based director who creates work across the boundaries of theater, video, and opera. His work has been seen at theaters and festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Michael John Garcés, who has worked as a freelance director, writer, and performer in New York for 16 years and has been the artistic director of Cornerstone Theatre Company, a community-engaged ensemble in Los Angeles, since 2006.

Anne Kauffman, a Sundance Institute Theatre program associate, a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, and an alumna of the Soho Rep Writers and Directors Lab who was described by the New York Times as "one of the leading lights of downtown theater." 

Robert O'Hara, who has received the NAACP Best Director Award, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, two OBIEs and the Oppenheimer Award. 

Rebecca Taichman, a New York-based director, who—among other accolades—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, 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.

Speaking of Sundance, check out our recent post looking at how they're working to promote gender equity in American cinema.