Sundance Institute’s Theatre Directors Retreat​ in Arles: Fellows Announced

Sundance Institute today announced the five directors who will gather at the annual Sundance Institute | Luma Foundation Theatre Directors Retreat in Arles, France, from July 12-23, 2018. The Retreat was developed in 2013 as an opportunity for mid-career directors to meet, work on upcoming projects and to share ideas and practices across borders.

“This unique collaboration between the Institute and the Luma Foundation reflects our shared values around artist support,” said Philip Himberg , the Theatre Program’s Artistic Director, “Specifically, we create a space for attendees to reconnect with their creative impulses, and for the Fellows to connect with one another across cultural borders as colleagues and world artist citizens.”

In addition to organized confabs and unstructured work time, the group will participate in cultural outings — including a performance of Theatre Lab alumnus Ali Chahrour’s May He Rise and Smell the Fragrance at the Festival d’Avignon, exhibitions at the Rencontres d’Arles and the Vincent Van Gogh Fondation Arlesas well as an excursion to the Camargue’s Tour du Valat.

The Fellows selected for this year’s Retreat and detailed below are: Omar Abi Azar(Beirut), Lina Abyad (Beirut), Oliver Butler (New York), Leah Gardiner (New York) and Loretta Greco (San Francisco).

Omar Abi Azar is a theatre director and founding member of Zoukak Theatre Company. He was the dramaturge and director of several of Zoukak’s performances. Since 2008, Omar leads psychosocial interventions with Zoukak, targeting various communities in different regions of Lebanon and abroad (in Serbia and in Calais’ Migrants’ Camp,France); giving drama-therapy workshops and creating collective performances with various groups. He co-curates “Zoukak Sidewalks” an international platform of performance, and “Focus Liban” a showcase of the work of local artists in Lebanon.

Lina Abyad is a stage director, actress and an Associate Professor at the Lebanese American University. Her plays are eclectic. Several themes haunt her stage: the Lebanese Civil War, women, Palestine and Arab dictatorships. The theatre she creates is socially and politically engaged with highly controversial and crucial issues for the Middle Eastern region.

Oliver Butler is a co-Artistic Director of The Debate Society with whom he has co-created and directed 9 full length plays since 2004 including The Light Years which was developed with the help of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program. He has worked on new plays with Jordan Harrison, Will Eno, Daniel Goldfarb, Lally Katz and Christopher Shinn and is currently working on upcoming plays by Heidi Schreck, Itamar Moses and Will Eno. He is a Bill Foeller Fellow, Sundance Institute Fellow and Obie Award Winner.

Leah C. Gardiner is an Obie Award-winning stage and film director known for the “incisive clarity” (The New York Times) of her work with physicality and text. Her work, ranging from Pulitzer-finalist new plays to Shakespeare to musicals, has been seen across the U.S. and in England and Japan.


Loretta Greco has just completed her tenth season as Magic Theater’s Artistic Director where she’s proud to have developed and premiered Taylor Mac’s Hir, Mfoniso Udofia’s rungboyrun and to have directed the premieres of Barbara Hammond’s Eva Trilogy; Jessica Hagedorn’s Gangster of Love, Han Ong’s Grandeur, and Luis Alfaro’s Oedipus el Rey among many others. New York credits include: The Story, Two Sisters and a Piano and Lackawanna Blues at the Public; and A Park in our House at NYTW.

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; National Endowment for the Arts; Wendy vanden Heuvel; John and Marcia Price Family Foundation; Luma Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; and the Wyncote Foundation.

You May Also Like