Heather Cohn joins En Garde Arts as New Executive Director

For Immediate Release Contact: Anne Hamburger, anne@engardearts.org

Heather Cohn Executive Director

New York, NY En Garde Arts, the New York City-based theatre company known for site-specific and boundary-breaking work, is excited to announce the appointment of Heather Cohn as its new executive director. Cohn moves into this role having previously been the director of development & community engagement. Prior to joining En Garde, Cohn was the director of development for Epic Theatre Ensemble for over four years, and has also worked with New York Theatre Workshop, The Pearl Theatre Company, Theatre Communications Group and Flux Theatre Ensemble. In her new role as executive director, Cohn will will join founder and artistic director Anne Hamburger in leading En Garde’s artistic and fiscal planning process, fundraising, community engagement and board relations.

“I’m thrilled that Heather is moving into this new leadership position at such a pivotal moment for our company,” said Hamburger. “With her deep fundraising experience, organizational management skills, and commitment to artistry and community, she’s the ideal partner with whom to build a vital and sustainable future for En Garde Arts.”

“I’m so grateful to Annie and the board for entrusting me with the opportunity to build on the extraordinary legacy of En Garde Arts,” said Cohn. “Together, we will advance our mission to create, produce, and present bold theatre experiences that reach across artistic, physical, and social boundaries.”

En Garde integrates creative development and community engagement, redefining the ways in which theatre is produced and presented for maximum artistic and social impact. Current projects include:

  • Uncommon Voices is a new incubator series in partnership with WBAI and The Brooklyn Commons that presents developmental work by artists engaged in social change. Its next presentation is Tar Sands Songbook, a multimedia performance by writer, performer and musician Tanya Kalmanovitch, a piece about her hometown of Fort McMurray, Canada near the site of the largest bituman reservoir in the world. Upcoming artists include Flux Theatre Ensemble, playwright and performer Ed Napier, Kevin R. Free and Andre DeShields and Amy Brenneman, among others.
  • Planned for the winter of 2020, En Garde is premiering Undocumented.  En Garde Arts has commissioned Chilean/Costa Rican-American playwright Andrea Thome, Mexican composer Sinuhé Padilla and Puerto Rican director José Zayas to create a new theatrical experience in the style of a fandango inspired by interviews with undocumented Latinx and Latin American immigrants.

Heather Cohn is thrilled to be serving as the Executive Director of En Garde Arts, having previously been the Director of Development & Community Engagement. Her work with En Garde includes extensive fundraising, community engagement, board relations and artistic and fiscal planning. Heather was the Director of Development for Epic Theatre Ensemble for 4.5 years and prior to that worked with Disney Theatrical, New York Theatre Workshop, The Pearl Theatre Company, and Theatre Communications Group. Heather is also a co-founder and the Producing Director of Flux Theatre Ensemble, an off-off-Broadway company founded in 2006. With Flux, Heather has produced 28 full productions, including 17 world premieres. She is the director of nine Flux productions, with playwrights including Gus Schulenburg, Erin Browne, Kristen Palmer, Kevin R. Free, and Johnna Adams. She served as Assistant Director to Austin Pendleton on Johnna Adams’s Gidion’s Knot. She has also directed with companies including Rattlestick, Lark Play Development Center, Cherry Lane, the EstroGenius Festival, and Planet Connections. She is a Board Member of the League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) and serves as co-chair on the Task Force for trans inclusion. She was a member of the Producers’ LAB with WP Theatre and is a graduate of Vassar College where she majored in Latin American Studies and spent time living in Cuba and Chile.

Anne Hamburger has a long track record of spearheading cultural innovation and entrepreneurship. She founded and led En Garde Arts from 1985 through 1999 — pioneering site-specific theatre in New York, with Edwin Booth and Lee Reynolds Awards recognizing her work — and relaunched the company in 2014. Anne became Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse in 1999, developing the future Tony Award-winning musicals Thoroughly Modern Millie and Spring Awakening, before serving as an Executive Vice President at Disney and leading the creative development and production of all the major stage shows for the parks worldwide. Featuring the talent of such respected theatre artists as Francesca Zambello and Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, many of the shows developed under her near decade-long tenure are still running today. Anne is a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women and is the recipient of an Exceptional Merit in Media Award from the National Political Women’s Caucus. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama.

En Garde Arts creates, produces and presents bold theatre experiences that reach across artistic, physical and social boundaries. We aim to increase empathy and open-mindedness by illuminating nuanced perspectives and unspoken truths behind the salient issues of our time. By bringing together artistic teams with non-arts partners from the outset, and merging seasoned theatre-goers with new audiences, En Garde Arts sparks dialogue among people not normally in conversation, both in New York and beyond.

Founded by visionary producer Anne Hamburger, En Garde Arts is a New York-based 501(c)3 not-for-profit that builds upon a globally-recognized history of creative excellence alongside such luminaries as Reza Abdoh, Anne Bogart, María Irene Fornés, Charles L. Mee, Jr., Tina Landau, Jonathan Larson, Bill Rauch, Fiona Shaw, and Mac Wellman.

From 1985 until 1999, En Garde Arts was the first exclusively site-specific theatre in New York, re-envisioning the city as a stage with experiential events that interwove story with location in Central Park, Penn Yards, East River Park, the Chelsea Hotel, a Meatpacking District before gentrification, and beyond. Using original and adapted texts, productions tackled such timely subjects as the AIDS epidemic and the city’s growing economic disparities and were collectively honored with six OBIEs, two Drama Desk Awards, and an Outer Critics Circle Special Award — with The New York Times proclaiming the organization to be “an invigorating urban presence.”

In 2014, En Garde Arts made a triumphant, mission-driven return to the city with BASETRACK Live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Named one of the top ten productions of the year by The New York Times, the piece employed a boundary-breaking form of multimedia documentary theatre-making, combining real life narratives with journalistic footage, music, and movement to elucidate the impact of war on the 21st Century American family. A 40-city national tour extended the impact of the En Garde Arts ethos — once reserved solely for the people of New York — and marked the beginning of the organization’s integrated approach to creative development and community engagement.

Championing an immersive process of understanding and discovery for artists and audiences alike, En Garde Arts continues to redefine the ways in which theatre is produced and presented for maximum artistic and social impact. In considering the myriad elements that combine to tell a story, it serves as an incubator for dynamic experiences that encapsulate today’s most pressing issues and move publics into action. https://engardearts.org

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