Olney Theatre Center Announces New Artistic Director

Jun 12, 2012
Olney Theatre Center

Olney Theatre Center is pleased to announce Martin Platt as their new Artistic Director. Mr. Platt began his tenure on May 28, 2012. He comes to Olney Theatre Center from his current position as Co-Director of Perry Street Theatricals (PST), a New York based producing company.

"I am thrilled to be joining the Olney Theatre Center, and with the trust that the Board has put in me. There are great challenges and even greater opportunities in what we can accomplish in expanding and enriching Olney Theatre Center's programming, and making Olney Theatre Center a true performing arts Center in Montgomery County, with a great producing theatre company at its core," says Mr. Platt

Mr. Platt is a native of Beverly Hills, California and attended Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU). After graduating from CMU, Mr. Platt founded the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF), where he served as Artistic Director for eighteen years. During his tenure at ASF, Mr. Platt directed more than 65 productions, as well as instituting an MFA program in partnership with the University of Alabama, and opening the ASF theatre complex in Montgomery, Alabama in 1985. Some of Mr. Platt's productions at ASF included Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, Chekov's Uncle Vanya, Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, Shaw's Pygmalion and Arms and the Man, Wilde's Importance of Being Earnest, Stoppard's Rough Crossing and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, as well as productions of 23 of Shakespeare's plays.

After leaving ASF, Mr. Platt served two years as General Director of Birmingham Opera Theatre, where he directed productions of Puccini's Tosca and Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio. His other opera work has included productions of Daughter of the Regiment, La Traviata, the US premiere of Verdi's Stiffelio, and the Bizet/Constant/Brook La Tragedie de Carmen.

Mr. Platt later served as Artistic Director of the New Mexico Repertory Theatre and founded Santa Fe Stages, an international performance festival in Santa Fe. Productions during this period included William's The Glass Menagerie, Ayckbourn's Woman in Mind, Maurine Watkins' Chicago, and John Wayne Never Slept Here.

In London Mr. Platt has directed The Free State by and starring Janet Suzman, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, and Miss Evers' Boys. In Spain he directed El Flameco es Vida and Don Juan Flamenco for the Bienale de Flamenco in Sevilla. In Vienna he has directed John Patrick Shanley's Doubt and Donald Marguiles' Time Stands Still.

Mr. Platt has also directed at many of America's leading regional theatres, including The Huntington Theatre Company (Boston), Cincinnati Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Pioneer Theatre Company (Salt Lake City), Asolo Theatre (Sarasota), Merrimack Repertory Theatre (Lowell), Playmakers Repertory Theatre (Chapel Hill) and Meadowbrook Theatre (Detroit).

His regional productions have included Henry IV, Part One; Twelve Angry Men; Old Wicked Songs; Cabaret Verboten; A Midsummer Night's Dream; True West; and To Kill a Mockingbird.

In New York he has directed D.H. Lawrence's The Daughter in Law, Tolstoy's The Power of Darkness, Sallie Bingham's Treason, and Jon Marans' musical, The Irrationals, among other productions.

As a producer, his work has included the five year international tour of the South African dance show Gumboots; West End productions of Nixon's Nixon, A Woman in Waiting, in addition to last year's Olivier nominated Lend Me a Tenor the Musical; New York productions include Here Lies Jenny with Bebe Neuwirth; the Obie and Drama Desk-winning productions of In The Continuum and An Oak Tree; as well as the National Theatre Guild of Uganda's Mother Courage at the Kennedy Center.

Mr. Platt was selected after a nation-wide search which began Fall 2011. Spearheading the search as an advisor to the Search Committee was David Mallette, from Management Consultants for the Arts. Olney Theatre Center Board of Directors member Halo Wines served as Chair of the Search Committee and worked countless hours to ensure Olney Theatre Center found the ideal person to fill this position.

"I couldn't be happier that Martin has agreed to be a part of Olney Theatre Center. His passion, experience and vision are exactly what we need at this time," says Amy Marshall, Olney Theatre Center Managing Director.

On June 16, Mr. Platt will unveil Olney Theatre Center's 75th Anniversary Season at a special event for press, season subscribers and friends of the theatre.