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Synetic Theater Names Ben Cunis Managing Director

The theatre welcomes the one-time company member, who also has extensive experience in film, into a leadership role.

ARLINGTON, VA.: Ben Cunis will assume the role of managing director for Synetic Theater beginning Sept. 1. Cunis is no stranger to Synetic: In 2007, he appeared as Macduff in their production of Macbeth, and subsequently worked there as fight choreographer, teacher, director of development, artistic associate director, and writer. He succeeds Jason Najjoum in the role. 

“Synetic Theater is my artistic homeland, and it’s an honor to return with new perspective, experience and skills,” Cunis said in a statement. “Emerging from the pandemic years, we have the opportunity to rediscover a place of presence. Our bodies and imaginations are coming together again, remembering recent lessons and carrying new tools. For me, this time will be about reinvigorating our relationships, working hard on new art, growing new artists and forging ahead into new spaces in a spirit of imagination, inclusion, maturity, and courage.”

“Ben is one of the most influential members of the Synetic family,” said Synetic’s co-founder, artistic director and CEO Paata Tsikurishvili in a statement. “He brings vast experience in theatre and film, as well as a broad institutional knowledge of Synetic, making him uniquely qualified to take the reins as the company’s managing director. We are so thrilled to welcome Ben back home.”

Cunis’s administrative roles include development associate for Hope Cancer Support in Bethesda, Md. Most recently he was a professor and filmmaker at his alma mater, the University of Southern California, where he received his MFA in film and TV production. He also co-founded the Virginia-based production company Granite Kiss Creative and worked with Lunacy Productions’ Stu Pollard to create Trunacy, a nonprofit dedicated to helping local indie filmmakers in Kentucky and the Midwest. Cunis has three Helen Hayes Awards for his work as a fight and action choreographer and other awards for his roles in the ensembles of Twelfth Night, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and The Rest is Silence.

Synetic Theater was founded in 2001 and remains the center for American physical theatre. Synetic aims to redefine theatre by blending innovative techniques and movement, investing in artistic growth, and creating unforgettable, visceral experiences for every audience. As of 2020, their annual budget was around $1.2 million.  

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