SEATTLE: Seattle Repertory Theatre has appointed Braden Abraham as its new artistic director, effective immediately. He has been on staff at the organization for 13 years. Following the sudden death of Jerry Manning during a routine medical procedure in 2014, Abraham stepped in as acting artistic director.
“This organization has been home to me for over a decade,” Abraham said in a statement. “To follow in the footsteps of artistic leaders I’ve admired and worked with over the years is a deep honor and an inspiring challenge. I’m humbled by the faith and trust of the Board, and I will do my best to build upon the legacy of my dear friend and predecessor, Jerry Manning.”
A longtime Washingtonian, Abraham received a B.A. in English from Western Washington University. He was first hired at the Rep as an artistic intern in 2002, transitioning into a full-time paid artistic position in 2003. In 2008, Abraham was promoted to associate artistic director. During his time at the Rep, Abraham has envisioned the New Play Program, starting a Writers Group for local playwrights and advocating for new voices on the stage, including Samuel D. Hunter, Laura Schellhardt, and Anna Ziegler.
His directing credits at the Rep include Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge (currently running through Oct. 18), Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Laura Schellhardt’s The Comparables (world premiere), Samuel D. Hunter’s A Great Wilderness (world premiere), Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51, Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park, Michael Hollinger’s Opus, Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, and My Name Is Rachel Corrie.
Abraham has signed a four-year contract, lasting until 2019. In a statement, he promises to uphold the values of his predecessor Manning, focusing on new work, emerging artists, and the Seattle community: “My vision is to invite new artists to the Rep while deepening our investment in the community of actors, playwrights, directors and designers whose extraordinary talents are already familiar to us; to embolden who we are by the breadth of theatre we make together; and to broaden our resources in an attempt to take the Rep to a new level of producing regionally, as well as nationally.”