Featured Speakers

Friday morning, 9:30 am Session

Keynote Speaker Johanna Pfaelzer

Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer joined Berkeley Rep in the 2019/20 season as its fourth artistic director. Prior to her arrival at Berkeley Rep, she served for 12 years as the artistic director of New York Stage and Film (NYSAF), a New York City-based organization dedicated to the development of new works for theatre, film, and television. Notable works that were developed under Johanna’s leadership at NYSAF include the Tony Award-winning Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Humans by Stephen Karam, Hadestown by Anaïs Mitchell, The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe, Junk and The Invisible Hand by Ayad Akhtar, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music by Taylor Mac, The Homecoming Queen by Ngozi Anyanwu, The Great Leap by Lauren Yee, John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer- and Tony Award–winning Doubt, The Fortress of Solitude by Michael Friedman and Itamar Moses, The Jacksonian by Beth Henley, and Green Day’s American Idiot. In addition, Johanna is proud to have developed the work of many notable writers, both established and early-career, including Jocelyn Bioh, Zach Helm, Halley Feiffer, Billy Porter, Lucy Thurber, Duncan Sheik, V (formerly Eve Ensler), Steven Sater, Jaclyn Backhaus, Patricia Wettig, and Marcus Gardley. She was formerly a producing director of Zena Group, and served for five years as the associate artistic director of American Conservatory Theater. Johanna is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Actors Theatre of Louisville Apprentice Program, and has taught in the MFA Theatre Program at Columbia University School of the Arts. She lives in Berkeley with her husband, Russell Champa, and their son, Jasper.

Photo by Cheshire Isaacs


A Conversation with Mary Zimmerman

Tony-Award Winning Director, Playwright, Educator

Mary Zimmerman will be receiving the CETA Professional Artist Award, and share a conversation with CETA President Gale Caswell.

Mary Zimmerman has written and directed nine plays for Berkeley Rep, including The Arabian Nights, The White Snake, and Treasure Island, and Metamorphoses .  Many of these productions as well as her Argonautika, The Secret of the Wings, and Eleven Rooms of Proust have played across the country and internationally. Her adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses which originated at Northwestern and Lookingglass Theatre ran on Broadway for year and she received the Tony Award for Best Direction of a play.  Opera directing credits include Galileo Galilei at the Goodman (with Philip Glass), Lucia de Lammermoor (Metropolitan Opera, La Scala) and Armida, la Sonnambula, Rusalka (Metropolitan Opera). Zimmerman is a Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University and an Ensemble Member at Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 1998 MacArthur Fellowship and recipient of numerous Jeff Awards.



  • Mary Zimmerman is the recipient of a 1998 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2002 Tony Award for Best Director of a Play and numerous Jeff Awards (including Best Production and Best Direction).
  • She is the Manilow Resident Director of Goodman Theatre, a member of Lookingglass Theatre Company and holds an endowed chair as a  professor of performance studies at Northwestern University.
  • Metamorphoses (on Broadway at the Circle and the Square, Second Stage, Loookingglass Theatre of Chicago, Berkeley and Seattle Rep, the Mark Taper Forum, Arena Stage DC and Melbourne Theatre Company, Australia)
  • Treasure Island (Lookingglass and Berkeley Rep),
  • The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci  (Goodman, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Seattle Rep and Second Stage Theatre)
  • Journey to the West (Goodman, the Huntington Theatre Company and Berkeley Rep)
  • The Odyssey ( Lookingglass Theatre, Goodman, McCarter Theatre and Seattle Rep and at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in summer 2017)
  • Mirror of the Invisible World and Silk, (the Goodman)
  • Arabian Nights (Lookingglass Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Kansas City Rep and Arena Theatre, DC)
  • Argonautika (Lookingglass Theatre, Berkeley Rep, the Shakespeare Theatre Company of DC and McCarter Theatre)
  • The Secret in the Wings (Lookingglass Theatre, Berkeley Rep, McCarter and Seattle Rep)
  • Candide (the Bernstein musical at Goodman, Shakespeare Theatre Company DC, Huntington)
  • Eleven Rooms of Proust (Lookingglass/About Face/Goodman co-production)
  • The Jungle Book (Goodman and Huntington Theatre)
  • The White Snake (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley, Goodman, McCarter, San Diego Globe and the Wuzhen Theatre Festival in China.
  • She created a new opera with Philip Glass, Galileo Galilei, (Goodman, The Barbican in London and Brooklyn Academy of Music).   
  • Zimmerman has directed Shakespeare’s Pericles (Goodman and Shakespeare Theatre Company of DC) and Henry VIII and Measure for Measure at New York Theater Festival’s Shakespeare in the Park.
  • She made her Metropolitan Opera directorial debut in 2007 with Lucia di Lammermoor, which she also directed at La Scala in Milan in 2014. Subsequent Met productions include Armida,  La Sonnambula and Rusalka, which debuted in February, 2017.

Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Berkeley Repertory Theatre has grown from a storefront stage to an international leader in innovative theatre. Known for its ambition, relevance, and excellence, as well as its adventurous audience, the nonprofit has provided a welcoming home for emerging and established artists since 1968. Over 6 million people have enjoyed more than 500 shows at Berkeley Rep, including 85 world premieres. Berkeley Rep shows have gone on to win 8 Tony Awards, 9 Obie Awards, 11 Drama Desk Awards, 1 Grammy Award, 1 Pulitzer Prize, and many other honors. In recognition of its place on the national stage, Berkeley Rep received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1997. Through its annual seven-play season, together with up to four special event presentations, Berkeley Rep invites audiences to enjoy an eclectic range of theatrical experiences featuring diverse artistic voices, themes, and perspectives. To formalize, enhance, and expand the processes by which Berkeley Rep makes theatre, The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work was launched in 2012. Serving some 20,000 people a year, Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre ensures broad access to dynamic arts educational activities, especially for Bay Area youth, and provides immersive training for current and future theatre makers. In 2021, Berkeley Rep launched In Dialogue, a program that places its theatre-making skills and resources in service of the community. Using storytelling as an anchor, In Dialogue is developing long-term collaborations with local, socially centered organizations, as well as educating and activating our audiences around organizations whose work aligns with the themes of our productions. Berkeley Rep’s bustling facilities—which include the 600-seat Roda Theatre, 400-seat Peet’s Theatre, Medak Center, and a spacious campus in West Berkeley—are helping revitalize a renowned city. Learn more at berkeleyrep.org.