Introducing Melia Bensussen

Detroit '67 StageNotes

Introducing Melia Bensussen – the next Artistic Director of Hartford Stage

By Theresa M. MacNaughton, Communications & Community Engagement Associate

Melia Bensussen

Photo by Defining Studios

In January, Obie-Award winning director Melia Bensussen was announced as the next Artistic Director of Hartford Stage. Bensussen will be the sixth artistic director, as well as the first woman, to lead the theatre in its 55-year history. She succeeds Darko Tresnjak, who has served as Artistic Director since 2011 and will depart Hartford Stage at the close of the 2018-19 season, Michael Wilson (1998-2011), Mark Lamos (1981-1998), Paul Weidner (1968-1981), and Jacques Cartier (1963-1968).  She will assume the role in June.

“I am honored and thrilled to be appointed Hartford Stage’s next Artistic Director, and I look forward to following in the footsteps of the distinguished and committed artists who previously served as Artistic Directors at Hartford Stage,” Bensussen said.  “Hartford Stage’s national reputation, its history of bringing world-class artists to Hartford, and its extraordinary commitment to education in this region all make for a thriving institution. I look forward to working with a great staff and board to further develop Hartford Stage’s high profile, as well as to increase community engagement and further expand its importance to the city of Hartford and environs.”

Bensussen is an award-winning director and artistic leader who has directed extensively at leading theatres throughout the country since 1984, including productions at the Huntington Theatre Company, Sleeping Weazel, Shakespeare & Company, Actors' Shakespeare Project, La Jolla Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage, Hartford Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the New York Shakespeare Festival, Manhattan Class Company, Primary Stages, Long Wharf Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre Company, Bay Street Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, among others.

Raised in Mexico City, Bensussen is fluent in Spanish and has translated and adapted a variety of texts, including her edition of the Langston Hughes translation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding. She is currently working on commissions and productions at the Huntington Theatre Company and ArtsEmerson in Boston.

A graduate of Brown University, Bensussen currently serves as the Chair of the Arts Advisory Board for the Princess Grace Foundation and for the past eleven years has chaired the Performing Arts Department at Emerson College. She also serves on the executive board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).