Watch Nataki Garrett, the Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, take on the Shakespeare Lightning Round and end up in first place:
Garrett’s forté and passion are fostering and developing new work. She is responsible for producing the world premieres of The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson, Two Degrees by Tira Palmquist, Zoey’s Perfect Wedding by Matthew Lopez, The Great Leap by Lauren Yee, and American Mariachi by José Cruz González. She also directed the world premieres of BLKS by Aziza Barnes and Pussy Valley by Katori Hall, and the U.S. premiere of Jefferson’s Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker. She is well known for her work with MacArthur Fellowship–winning playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, having directed the regional premieres of several of his plays, including Everybody at California Shakespeare Theater and An Octoroon at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Garrett directed the first professional production of Jacobs-Jenkins’s acclaimed play Neighbors at the Matrix Theatre Company in Los Angeles. Garrett’s production received five Ovation Award nominations, including one for Best Production.
She is the former associate artistic director of CalArts Center for New Performance, where she was hailed as a champion of new work as well as an experienced, savvy arts administrator. At CalArts, Garrett oversaw all operations of conservatory training and produced mainstage, black box, developmental projects, plays, co-productions and touring productions. Most recently, Garrett served as acting artistic director for Denver Center for the Performing Arts, during the $66 million organization’s 18-month leadership transition, working in partnership with the chief executive officer, managing director, and board of directors to oversee all artistic operations for the theater company. During her tenure, she produced a very provocative Macbeth; the play was the most successful production in the Space Theatre’s 40-year history. She also initiated and negotiated the first co-world premieres in 10 years for two DCPA-commissioned plays—The Great Leap with Seattle Repertory Theatre and American Mariachi with The Old Globe.
She serves on the nominating committee for The Kilroys, and she recently served on the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust Distinguished Playwright Award nominating committee and the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship panel.
Garrett is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group Career Development Fellowship for Theatre Directors and a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. She is also a member of the board of directors for Theatre Communications Group, a company member at Woolly Mammoth, and an advisory board member for Mixed Blood Theatre.
Garrett is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts with an MFA in directing.
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