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Diane Borger (center) with Sammi Cannold and Tony Montineri on the way to rehearsal for V's "The Body of the World." (Photo by Ashley Garrett)

Executive Producer Diane Borger to Step Down From ART

After 11 years helping Harvard’s resident theatre mount many works that went to Broadway, she’ll return to her native London.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS: American Repertory Theater (ART) at Harvard University announced today that Diane Borger will step down from her role as executive producer on June 30 and will return to her home in London. She will join ART’s board of advisors this summer.

“Diane Borger’s impact on the ART has been transformational, from the very first show she produced—the groundbreaking, immersive Sleep No More—to her active mentoring of Harvard undergraduates into careers in the field,” said artistic director Diane Paulus in a statement. “I have witnessed with awe and admiration her remarkable ability to build relationships with artists and provide conditions for bold, risk-taking work to flourish. As a director, I have experienced time and again her genius in understanding the creative process, from her dramaturgical insights to her steady guidance in delivering a production. I will forever cherish these last twelve years of our creative partnership.”

New plays and musicals developed in Cambridge over the past 12 years have gone on to reach audiences across the country, on Broadway, in London’s West End, and around the world, including at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival, and in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Monaco, and China.

Prior to the A.R.T., Borger served as general manager of the Royal Court Theatre and the deputy head of the National Theatre Studio, both in London. Her longstanding relationships with British artists laid the foundation for numerous collaborations at the ART, including two with John Tiffany, Once and The Glass Menagerie, which found their way to Broadway, as well as Wild Swans, an adaptation of the book by Jung Chang co-produced with the Young Vic Theatre of London, and visiting productions of The Plough and the Stars, 1984, and Barber Shop Chronicles.

As the ART liaison to the Harvard-Radcliffe Drama Club and the producing associate in Harvard’s concentration in Theater, Dance & Media, Borger has mentored and advised students making work at the Loeb Drama Center and across Harvard’s campus, as well as those developing work in collaboration with the professional staff of the ART. These projects have included A.R.T.’s family shows, which for the past three seasons have been written, composed and performed entirely by Harvard undergraduate students (The Emperor’s New Clothes, Thumbelina: A Little Musical, and Jack and the Beanstalk: A Musical Adventure). In the fall of 2020, Borger taught “Nonprofit Producing: Resourcing Creativity and Innovation,” the first producing course ever offered in Harvard’s Theater, Dance & Media concentration.

“Diane’s mentorship changed the lives of an entire generation of undergraduates, including my own, by giving us the confidence to pursue a career in the arts and entertainment,” said Kevin Lin, class of 2012, in a statement. Lin first met Borger as an ART intern when he was a biology concentrator at Harvard. He is now an agent and co-head of the Cultural Business Strategy Group at Creative Artists Agency. “For so many of my friends and colleagues in the theatre industry, she guided us toward and helped us chase professional opportunities that otherwise would have felt impossible.”

“It has been a privilege and a joy to serve as the executive producer of the ART,” said Borger in a statement. “When I agreed to come to Cambridge in 2009 to produce Sleep No More, I never imagined it would be the start of 12 of the most extraordinary years of my career, and that I would land in such an incredible partnership with Diane Paulus. I am grateful to the staff, boards, volunteers, and esteemed Harvard colleagues with whom I’ve had the good fortune to work over the past decade. A producer’s work is rooted in relationships, and I have the most enormous appreciation for the remarkable students and artists with whom I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate.”

The June 29 episode of ART’s virtual talk show the Lunch Room will feature Borger in conversation with alumni and colleagues, and the theatre’s spring celebration, also in June will include a tribute to Borger.

A search committee composed of ART staff and board members has been formed to select a search firm and lead the process to identify the theater’s new co-leader.

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