LOWELL, MASS.: Merrimack Repertory Theatre has named Courtney Sale the Nancy L. Donahue artistic director. Sale, who currently serves as artistic director of Seattle Children’s Theatre, will begin her new post on March 23, 2020. She succeeds Sean Daniels, who now leads Arizona Theatre Company.
Sale is the first woman to serve as the company’s artistic director, and the first to fill the position since it was named in honor of founding chair Nancy L. Donahue.
“We are elated with our selection of Courtney Sale,” said board president William Wyman in a statement. “We were blessed with an abundance of outstanding candidates; however, Courtney stood out with her wide range of skills and accomplishments as a director, educator, administrator, and a longtime collaborator and developer of new plays, which is at the heart of MRT’s work. Courtney will bring a fresh vitality and charisma to MRT. ”
Sale has served as the artistic director of Seattle Children’s Theatre for the past three years. At SCT she directed Black Beauty, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and The Little Prince. Commissioned writers under her tenure have included Idris Goodwin, Cheryl West, Allison Gregory, Karen Hartman, Trista Baldwin, Ramon Esquivel, and James Still. Her recent directing projects include Tiny Beautiful Things at Seattle Rep, the world premiere of Steven Dietz’s The Ghost of Splinter Cove at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, and Ellen Fairey’s Support Group for Men at Contemporary American Theatre Festival. Before joining SCT, she was the associate artistic director at Indiana Repertory Theatre. With the Duplicates, she co-created The Fictional Life of Historical Oddities, September Play, The Man with the Dancing Eyes, and The Poison Squad (Austin Critics Award). She has developed new work at Denver Center Theatre Company’s Summit New Play Festival, the New Harmony Project, Write Now, Dorset Theatre Festival, TheatreWorks (Palo Alto), New Plays for Young Audiences at NYU/Provincetown Playhouse, and the Orchard Project. She was included in Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under Forty list, received the Cornish College of the Arts Distinguished Alumni Award, and was the keynote speaker at the 2017 International Council of Fine Arts Deans. She has taught at Summer at Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle Children’s Museum, Temple College, and the University of Texas at Austin. Sale is a proud member of the National Theatre Conference and the theatrical union the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. She is represented by Abrams Artists NYC. She received a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts, and holds a MFA from the University of Texas at Austin.
“MRT is one of the most important organizations for new work in the country,” said Sale in a statement. “I am overjoyed to join executive director Bonnie Butkas, the board of trustees, MRT staff, and our community partners to author the next remarkable chapter of this dynamic theatre’s story.”