Sabrina Peck: Director and Choreographer
Original Works

Directing

Choreography

Residencies

Young Artists

Cornerstone Theater

About the Artist



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Sabrina Peck conceives, directs and choreographs original theater works infused with movement and music. She often travels to diverse communities to collaborate with professionals and local residents on visually stunning productions that reflect the history and lifeblood of those people and places. Productions include Common Green/Common Ground, with community gardeners from Brooklyn, East Village, Harlem and the South Bronx (developed as Visiting Artist at NYU Tisch School of the Arts); Speaking our Streets, with former tobacco workers and residents of the West End in Durham, North Carolina; Commodities, with commodities pit traders on Wall Street; Odakle Ste with Bosnian Muslim refugees in Croatia; Waiting, with former Bosnian refugees at Wave Hill Gardens in New York; and To the River, with 40 children from Hell's Kitchen.

As a director, Peck most often collaborates with living playwrights. She brings to the play development process a keen sense of narrative rhythm and shape; an instinct for telling a story with economy and originality; and a formidable command of lighting, sound, movement and other elements of heightened theatricality. Recently, Peck directed Jessica Litwak’s My Heart is in the East at LaMama Experimental Theater Club. She co-created Mouth Wide Open with Amy Brenneman at the American Repertory Theater. She also recently directed The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek by Naomi Wallace at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College. Peck and Playwright Chiori Miyagawa conceived and developed Antigone Project, a reimagining of the Sophocles by five contemporary women playwrights including Lynn Nottage, Karen Hartman and Caridad Svich. Peck directed the developmental readings of the pieces at The Public Theater, Second Stage, Classic Stage Company and The Vineyard Theater. The Women's Project presented the final production. Peck has also directed Dawn Saito's Blood Cherries at Dance Theater Workshop in NYC (with Jonathan Rosenberg); Stephanie Fleischmann's Blue Hyacinths for the Dawn Powell Festival in NYC and Eloise and Ray for HBO's Stage to Screen Series; Lenora Champagne's Wants at the Ohio Theatre; and Amy Brenneman's Interstates at the So Grand Theater. At New Dramatists in NYC, she developed with Todd London The Trials of Monica Lewinsky, based on the verbatim Grand Jury Testimony (later presented at HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen). For New Dramatists she also served as resident director, staging a reading of Chimps, a new play by British playwright Simon Block, among other projects. Passionate about music, Peck has also directed staged readings of several original chamber operas, including composer Philip Johnston and Fleischmann's The Hotel Carter at Mabou Mines, and composer Miki Navazio and Fleischmann's Far Sea Pharisee at the Public Theater. She is a member of both the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and the Lincoln Center Theater Director's Lab.

Peck is equally at home staging large-scale music-theater as she is designing original movement for classic plays. In both cases, her choreography is inventive, dynamic, and always concerned with furthering the story or revealing the essence of a character. Most recently she choreographed Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. An interweaving of the two classic plays and the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, MMC was previously mounted at Yale Repertory Theater. She choreographed The Clean House at Lincoln Center Theater, written by Macarthur-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Other musicals include Eleanor: An American Love Story (Ford's Theatre, Washington, D.C.); Heart Land (Goodspeed Opera House at Chester); The Good Person of New Haven (Long Wharf Theater); Kudzu (Ford's Theatre); and A Community Carol (Arena Stage). Plays with movement include Henry VIII (New York Shakespeare Festival); Richard II and Richard III (Theater for a New Audience). Choreography for film/TV includes Anita Liberty for Bravo, and Everybody Over Here for Nickelodeon. Large-scale extravaganzas include Harvard's 350th Anniversary Stadium Spectacular.

For Cornerstone Theater Company, she has choreographed many inventive music-theater adaptations of classic plays, including The Videostore Owner's Significant Other, an adaptation of Lorca's The Shoemaker's Prodigious Wife in D.C. (recipient of a Helen Hayes award) and The Maske Family Musical. She has also choreographed many of Cornerstone's epic community collaborations, including The House on Walker River, an adaptation of the Oresteia on the Walker River Pauite Indian Reservation in Nevada; Too (2) Noble Brothers, an adaptation of Shakespeare's Two Noble Kinsmen with high school students on the Lower East Side (sponsored by the New York Shakespeare Festival); and The Winter's Tale: An Interstate Adventure, a nationally-touring adaptation of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale with 50 Americans ages 7-77 (the subject of the documentary Cornerstone on HBO Signature). Peck recently taught at the Cornerstone Institute, a training program for community-based theater artists.

Peck is currently adjunct faculty at Columbia University. She has been a visiting artist at Harvard University, Duke University and NYU Tisch School of the Arts Department of Drama, creating original productions in collaboration with students. At Duke and NYU, she also taught courses in Community-Based Performance, educating college students about the history of community-based theater and bringing them into neighboring communities to create original theater with local residents.

Peck has been a guest teacher at Bard College (JoAnne Akalaitis’ Dangerous Theater class); Hunter College (Rebecca Connors’ English class on the literature of the body); and Lincoln Center Theater’s Education Program. Recently she mentored two playwriting students at Bard College, directing their plays for a festival. She has been a panelist/presenter, for example, at: the Annual conference for the Association for Theater in Higher Education (ATHE): “Site-Specific Theater and the Transformation of Memory”; the NYC Arts in Education Face to Face conference; the IDEA festival at Dwight Englewood School; The Stage Directors and Choreographer’s Society symposium, Directing a New American Theater; and the Theater without Borders’ symposium, The Future of International Exchange.

She has also coached acting students in movement and choreography at the Yale School of Drama (while choreographing Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella), the Juilliard School (while choreographing The Time of Your Life and Native Speech), and the American Repertory Theater Institute (while choreographing The lady from Maxim's). She's worked extensively with young people, and she is the creator of the award-winning CityStep teaching and performance program in Cambridge, MA public elementary schools. See more about peck's work with young artists.

Education
Peck has an M.F.A. in directing from Brooklyn College. She received her B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University, where she wrote her honors thesis on the Breton separatist movement in France and received a David McCord Prize for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts. She has a Movement Specialist Certificate from the New School and studied extensively at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. Her early training includes classical piano, ballet and Graham technique, and a year as Twyla Tharp's assistant.