jakub | February 1, 2024

AMERICAN THEATRE | Nicole A. Watson Named Playwrights’ Center Producing Artistic Director


Nicole A. Watson. (Photo by Catalin Media.)

MINNEAPOLIS: Playwrights’ Center (PWC) has named Nicole A. Watson their new producing artistic director. Watson will take over on April 1 as outgoing producing artistic director Jeremy B. Cohen heads to the Ojai Playwrights’ Conference.

“Given the richness and diversity of her artistic experience, demonstrated passion for new work, and deep commitment to listening and community building, Nicole is absolutely the right leader to guide the Center into its exciting new chapter,” PWC board chair Harrison David Rivers said in a statement.

Watson currently serves as the associate artistic director at the McCarter Theatre Center. She previously lived in Minneapolis when her husband, Tim J. Lord, was a 2017-18 Jerome Fellow at PWC. Last season, she returned to the Twin Cities to direct Blues for an Alabama Sky by Pearl Cleage at the Guthrie Theater. Watson previously served as the associate artistic director at Round House Theatre, and she produced the Adrienne Kennedy Festival at both Round House and the McCarter. She launched the Toni Morrison Project at the McCarter and was also a co-curator on the digital new play catalog Bard at the Gate with Paula Vogel. Watson has co-led the Kennedy Center Directing Intensive since 2020 and is a co-founder of the Working Theater Directors Salon. A member of the New Georges Jam, Watson has worked with many festivals and new-play development organizations and has directed works at Asolo Repertory Theatre, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Cincinnatti Playhouse, the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, the American Conservatory Theater’s school, and more.

“To talk about Playwrights’ Center is to talk about possibility,” Watson said in a statement. “The organization has made an unconditional commitment to supporting writers, and that makes the Center a beacon of light in these times. I am ecstatic to lead the Center in this time of growth and transition, to become a member of and advocate for the vibrant artistic community in the Twin Cities, and to support artists and their artistic practice.”

Watson and Cohen will work together in the transition period from April to June. The PWC board of directors collaborated with the Tom O’Connor Consulting Group to search for PWC’s next producing artistic director.

The Playwrights’ Center sustains, develops, and advocates for playwrights and their work to realize their full artistic potential. The Center serves playwrights by starting and sustaining careers, developing new work, and connecting playwrights to theatres, and offers fellows and core writers over $450,000 in direct support each year. As of 2023, the organization had a budget of approximately $2.7 million.

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