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Colm Summers. (Photo by Emily Pinto)

Colm Summers Named Artistic Director of Working Theatre

An experienced director, he will look to deepen and strengthen the company’s working-class programming.

NEW YORK CITY: Working Theater, a New York City-based theatre company dedicated to representing the voices and stories of working people, has named Colm Summers its new artistic director. He succeeds Laura Carbonell Monarque, who stepped down in May.

“It’s an honor to join Working Theater, a company which has long represented the best of the American Theater,” said Summers in a statement. “In a cardinal year for the labor movement in America, I plan to double down on our community programming and union alliances, creating access to the arts for more working New Yorkers than ever before. I look forward to strengthening the foundational programming that embodies the heart of Working Theater and putting the stories of working people centerstage.”

Summers most recently served as director in residence at the Geffen Playhouse (where his staging of Every Brilliant Thing with Daniel K. Isaac is currently running). He was previously a resident director at Ireland’s Abbey Theatre and a 2023 BRICLab resident artist. Known for producing thought-provoking and socially relevant new works, Summers’s vision builds on Working Theater’s commitment to exclusively creating and producing new American plays for, about, and with working people.

“Colm impressed us with his passionate resonance to our mission, our programming, and the importance of working people’s stories,” said Bill Henning, board president of Working Theater, in a statement. “We are excited to usher in this next great era of Working Theater with him at the helm as we continue to find new ways to create access to the arts for working people.”

Under Summers’ leadership, Working Theater will look toward furthering community engagement efforts and forging deeper connections between the theatre and the diverse working communities of New York City, especially those that have been traditionally underrepresented in the arts. In its 39th season, the company will continue to champion the stories and voices of working people with the expansion of the TheaterWorks! Program, including a co-produced bilingual presentation with People’s Theatre Project directed by Reza Salazar, the development of two new one-act plays through the Mark Plesent Commission Fund, and a co-production with Keen Company of Fish by Kia Corthron, directed by Adrienne D. Williams.

Founded in 1985, Working Theater believes the transformative experience of live theatre should not be a luxury but a part of everyone’s everyday life. The company offers artistic and educational programming for and about Americans working in the industrial and service economies, who may be unable to afford commercial theatre or feel that it does not resonate with their lives and experience.

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