(PRINCETON, NJ) -- McCarter Theatre Center has announced the appointment of Sarah Rasmussen as its new artistic director, effective August 1, 2020. Rasmussen is currently artistic director of the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis, where she has gained national attention for bringing inclusive and bold stories, diverse talent, and gender parity to the stage.
“The search committee was impressed with Sarah’s commitments to inclusive artistry and inventive storytelling,” said McCarter Board Chair Robert Caruso, who co-chaired the search for a new artistic director with board member Jill Dolan. “McCarter looks forward to how she—partnering with managing director Mike Rosenberg—will expand the theatre’s audiences with innovative programming and original content.”
Rasmussen will succeed Emily Mann, who is departing from McCarter after 30 years leading the theatre. “I have long admired Emily and her legacy of commissioning and developing new work,” said Rasmussen. “I am energized by the conversations I’ve had with McCarter board, staff and community about this next chapter. And, as a former professor, I look forward to the possibilities between the theater and Princeton University.”
“I am so very happy to light the torch of my successor, Sarah Rasmussen, and wish her a glorious tenure as McCarter’s new Artistic Director,” Mann added.
Rasmussen took over leadership of the Jungle Theater in 2015, succeeding founder Bain Boehlke, who had led the theater for 25 years. She commissioned new work; staged celebrated early productions of The Wolves, The Oldest Boy and Ride the Cyclone; and produced hit shows such Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, The Wickhams and School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play, among many others. In 2018, the Star Tribune named her “Artist of the Year” in Minnesota. That same year, she also became an inaugural recipient of the BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle grant, which supports the development of female artistic leaders in theater.
Prior to serving as artistic director at the Jungle, Rasmussen was resident director for Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab new work development program and head of the M.F.A. Directing program at The University of Texas at Austin. She has directed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Guthrie Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Actors Theater of Louisville and La Jolla Playhouse. She earned her BA from St. Olaf College and MFA from the University of California, San Diego.
McCarter’s mission is to create world-class theater and present the finest artists for the engagement, education, and entertainment of the community. Winner of the 1994 Tony Award® for Outstanding Regional Theatre, world premieres include Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2013 Tony® – Best Play); Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays; Emily Mann’s Having Our Say; and Danai Gurira’s The Convert. McCarter brings artists from around the world to Princeton, including David Sedaris, Rhiannon Giddens, Wynton Marsalis, and more. Education and outreach efforts serve tens of thousands through student matinees, in-school residencies, and adult classes.
Sarah Rasmussen started her first theater company at 14 in her hometown of Sisseton, South Dakota, after seeing a production at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Since then she's gone on to a directing, producing and teaching career, earning critical acclaim for inventive storytelling and the generous exchange she creates between actor and audience. Rasmussen was appointed Artistic Director of the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis in 2015. She was named the Star Tribune's “Artist of the Year” in 2018 and an inaugural recipient of the BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle grant. She is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award and Drama League and Fulbright Scholar fellowships. She was formerly Resident Director for Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab new work development program and Head of M.F.A. in Directing at The University of Texas at Austin. Sarah has also directed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Guthrie, Dallas Theater Center, Actors Theater of Louisville and La Jolla Playhouse. She earned her BA from St. Olaf College and MFA from the University of California, San Diego.