NEW YORK CITY: Liz Carlson has been named the interim artistic director of New York Stage and Film (NYSAF). The announcement comes as Chris Burney plans his departure after serving three years NYSAF’s artistic director, in which role he succeeded Johanna Pfaelzer. Burney is leaving to pursue educational and commercial opportunities. During his tenure, Burney supported artists through the pandemic with new initiatives like the Nexus Initiative, online development and readings, as well as expanded mentorship opportunities. Carlson will assist Burney in making the transition.
“Chris has formed wonderful relationships with the entire board of New York Stage and Film,” said board chair Barbara Manocherian in a statement. “We feel that not many people could have helped us through the challenges of the past three years; Chris has led us through the global pandemic with strength and intelligence. We are all very excited that Liz Carlson, an extraordinary artist, producer, and leader, who has a long history with the company, will be stepping up during this period of transition. She brings a deep understanding of NYSAF and the artistic community it serves.”
Carlson has worked with NYSAF for the past 15 years in various roles. For seven years, she served as NYSAF’s full-time artistic producer, supporting hundreds of artists, including César Alvarez, Jaki Bradley, and Lyndsey Bourne. Carlson also served as the artistic director for the new works incubator Naked Angels from 2013 to 2016. Additionally, as director, Carlson has developed plays and musicals with Ars Nova, the Dramatists’ Guild, Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Flea, Keen Company, Manhattan School of Music, Manhattan Theatre Club, the New Group, Playwrights Horizons, the Playwrights Realm, Signature Theatre Company, and Williamstown Theatre Festival, among others.
“NYSAF has been evolving over the past two and a half years, nimbly responding to the unexpected challenges brought on by the pandemic and embracing the call to address our infrastructure and be a better service organization for all,” said Carlson in a statement. “As we look ahead, our core mission to be a vital developmental resource will remain as we continue to champion process. I’ve had the privilege of nurturing my artistic career within the NYSAF community, from a fellow to artist-in-residence to a full-time creative producer.”
As interim artistic director, Carlson’s responsibilities will include assisting Burney until his departure in December 2022, programming the 2023 summer season, which will be announced in early 2023, and working with the board of NYSAF for the next two years to implement an extensive and inclusive search for a new artistic director.
New York Stage and Film was founded in 1985 as a not-for-profit company dedicated to artists developing new stories for theater, film and television by providing a home for artists free from critical and commercial pressures and supporting processes responsive to the needs of each particular work. As of 2019, NYSAF had an annual budget of approximately $1.9 million.
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