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May 25, 2012/For Immediate Release (photo attached; high-res available)
Media Contact: Marla Carpenter, 336-770-3337, carpem@uncsa.edu


Carl Forsman is Award-Winning Director, Producer,
and Artistic Director of NYC’s Keen Company


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) Chancellor John Mauceri has announced that Carl Forsman, Founding Artistic Director of the New York-based theatre Keen Company, producer of a dozen off-Broadway plays and more off-off-Broadway, and award-winning director, will become the new Dean of the UNCSA School of Drama on July 1.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to about Carl has the same reaction: ‘I love his work!’” said Chancellor Mauceri. “He is a true man of the theatre, who believes in the importance of ‘the work’ and the necessity for technical training, combined with the moral imperative of encouraging creativity and exploration.

“Carl Forsman is the right person at the right time, and he will take our great drama school to new and even more exciting places,” Chancellor Mauceri concluded.

Carl Forsman

“My professional work has all been unified by my belief that theatre is a collective expression of hope and humanity,” Forsman said. “I believe the theatre is a chance to celebrate and question our capacity for the finest in human nature: kindness, generosity, sympathy, and exuberance.

“I know that theatre is capable of transformation for practitioners as well as audience members, and I am eager to bring my experience and passion to bear in molding a new generation of artists at UNCSA,” Forsman concluded.

Forsman succeeds Gerald Freedman, Dean of the School of Drama for more than two decades, who is retiring June 30. “From the first moment I met Carl Forsman, I knew we were the same kind of theatre folk,” Freedman said. “We talked the same language; it was like old friends catching up.

“We share the same values about rigorous conservatory actor training, but he is also a theatre director and producer in the thick of it in New York City, and knows what the expectations are for our graduates first-hand,” Freedman continued. “He has a blog – he knows all that stuff they need to know these days. But first and foremost he believes in truthful acting. I couldn’t be more excited!”

Under Freedman’s tenure, the UNCSA School of Drama has become one of the most competitive and highly regarded undergraduate BFA acting conservatories in the nation. Earlier this month, it was listed among the “25 Top Theatre Schools” by The Hollywood Reporter.

Forsman has been Artistic Director of Keen Company in New York since 2000. He calls it “a not-for-profit theatre dedicated to ‘sincerity’ – a home for plays which are optimistic and champion the best in humanity.” Keen is a resident company at Theatre Row, a member of ART/NY and recipient of funding from the NEA, NYSCA, DCA, and Shubert Foundation. Keen was awarded a Special Drama Desk Award in 2005 “for moving and enlightening audiences with plays that build upon our theatrical heritage,” as well as eight Drama Desk nominations over the years.

As a director, Forsman was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director for Keen Company’s revival of The Voice of the Turtle, which transferred to an extended run off-Broadway.  His direction of the American premiere of Conor McPherson’s The Good Thief earned an Obie Award for star Brian d’Arcy James and Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Solo Performance.

Other directions for Keen Company include Tina Howe’s Painting Churches, Michael Frayn’s Benefactors and Alphabetical Order, Gerald Sibleyras’ Heroes, John Belluso’s Pyretown, Thornton Wilder’s The Happy Journey, David Hay’s The Maddening Truth, Michael Murphy’s The Conscientious Objector, Beasley’s Christmas Party, David Auburn’s adaptation of The Journals of Mihail Sebastian, PG Wodehouse’s Good Morning, Bill, Keith Reddin’s Can’t Let Go, Tina Howe’s Museum, Gertrude Tonkonogy’s Three-Cornered Moon, and SN Behrman’s The Second Man.

Other New York work includes Love Child at New World Stages and Primary Stages, Tina Howe’s new translations of Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano and The Lesson for the Atlantic Theater Company, Everythings Turning Into Beautiful by Seth Rosenfeld and Sin (A Cardinal Deposed) by Michael Murphy for The New Group, Courtney Baron’s In the Widows’ Garden (Chekhov NOW Festival), Eric Winick’s rearviewmirror (Reverie Productions), and Julia Jordan’s Paul Westerberg (Soho Rep Summercamp). Sin (A Cardinal Deposed) was honored with an Obie Award for Outstanding Production and was a Drama Desk nominee for Best New Play.

Regional work includes Merrimack Repertory Theatre, The Asolo, and Long Wharf. He has also directed as such venues as Court Theatre of L.A. and The Garter Lane Theatre of Waterford, Ireland.

Forsman has directed some of America’s foremost actors, including Brian d’Arcy James, Kathleen Chalfant, Rebecca Luker, Jonathan Hogan, Lisa Emery, DB Woodside, Jack Gilpin, Jan Maxwell and Thomas Jay Ryan. In addition to d’Arcy James (The Good Thief), two other actors under his direction have been nominated for performance Drama Desk Awards: John Cullum (The Conscientious Objector) and Sarah Nina Hayon (rearviewmirror).

Forsman has directed numerous world and New York premiere productions, as well as workshops and readings (Theater for a New Audience, Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center and Roundabout Theater Company, among others.)

From 2006-09, Forsman led the turnaround of the Dorset Theatre Festival, a summer professional theatre in southern Vermont, where his directions included Agatha Christie’s The Hollow and George S. Kaufman’s Dulcy. From 1998-2000, he was the literary manager for the Blue Light Theatre Company in New York.

Forsman is a member of the National Advisory Board for the Drama League Director’s Project, the Advisory Board for the Red Bull Theatre Company in New York, and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

He graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont with a B.A. in Theater and Economics, and from the University of Minnesota with an M.F.A. in Directing. He has taught and/or directed at Middlebury College, the American Festival for the Arts in Houston, Southern Methodist University/Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, Florida State’s ASOLO Actor Training Program, Primary Stages Einhorn School for Theater in New York, and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.