Derek Goldman

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Derek Goldman, Co-Director

Derek Goldman

Artistic and Executive Director/ Co-founder

Dr. Derek Goldman is an award-winning international stage director, playwright, producer, festival director, adapter/ deviser, curator, and published scholar. He serves as Artistic and Executive Director of The Laboratory for Global Performance & Politics (The Lab), which he co-founded in 2012 with Ambassador Cynthia Schneider with a mission “to humanize global politics through performance.” Under his leadership, The Lab has grown into a unique organization that is both a global destination for students and an expansive network of global collaborators, and is recognized for its distinctive thought-leadership and innovation at the intersection of performance, politics, education, and social justice.

He is Professor of Theater and Performance Studies at Georgetown with a joint appointment in the School of Foreign Service as Professor of Global Performance, Culture and Politics. In nineteen years at Georgetown, he has also served as Chair of the Department of Performing Arts and Director of the Theater & Performance Studies Program, and for a decade as Artistic Director of the Davis Performing Arts Center.

He is director and co-author (with his former student Clark Young) of the celebrated play “Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, (published as the centerpiece of a special volume by Georgetown University Press). The play was created by The Lab and stars Oscar-Nominated actor David Strathairn, and has been performed to great acclaim Off-Broadway and at leading theaters such as DC’s Shakespeare Theater Company, Berkeley Repertory, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, as well as performances in the UK, Spain, 4 cities in Poland, and more. He also co-directed and co-authored the new feature film version (Remember This) which has received awards at numerous festivals and aired nationally on PBS Great Performances.

Goldman has directed over 100 theatrical productions and has worked regularly as an adapter/playwright at leading off Broadway, and international and regional theaters such as Steppenwolf in Chicago; Shakespeare Theater Company, The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Ford’s Theater, Lincoln Center and Theater for A New Audience, Berkeley Rep, Baltimore Center Stage, Everyman Theater, Mosaic, Theater J, Berkeley Rep, Segal Center (Montreal), and many others.

He was honored to receive the prestigious President’s Award for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers as well as the Provost’s Award for Innovation in Teaching for his work around the world on In Your Shoes, a groundbreaking approach he created to counter polarization by using innovative techniques rooted in theatrical performance, dialogue and deep listening. His In Your Shoes workshops have been shared with thousands of participants in diverse settings and contexts around the world, and the approach is now being scaled as part of The Lab’s In Your Shoes Research and Practice Center.

He serves as a faculty fellow with Georgetown’s Earth Commons Institute, a hub for environmental and sustainability innovation, with whom he is collaborating to create curriculum and develop initiatives at the intersection of the arts and environment.

Goldman has also served as Vice-President of the International Theater Institute, the world’s largest performing arts organization, with centers in more than 100 countries, representing the Americas on ITI’s Executive Board and Executive Council, and as co-President of the US Center of ITI. He is also a Founding Director of UNESCOs Global Network of Higher Education in the Performing Arts and produced and launched the Network’s first global festival at the 2017 ITI World Congress in Segovia, Spain. He served for 6 years as a member of the Board of Directors of Theater Communications Group (TCG), and is co-creator of the Global Theater Initiative, a partnership between The Lab and TCG which promotes cross-cultural collaboration and cultivates new strategies to maximize the global theater field’s opportunities and impact.

He finds most rewarding his work supporting, mentoring, convening and helping to build lasting relationships among emerging and ground-breaking artists from around the world who are working at the intersection of performance, social change and global politics.  Many of these artists, such as the 30 artists from around the world who have been part of the 3 cohorts to date of Global Lab Fellows, habitually do extraordinary work amidst violence, poverty, and other extreme obstacles. In pursuit of this work, he has been Principal Investigator on over $2 million of major grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Doris Duke Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for Humanities, and others to directly support these artists and initiatives. His work at these intersections has brought him in recent years to collaborations in Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, UAE, UK, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and more.

Goldman was Founding Artistic Director of the StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance,  a professional theater company which he founded and ran from 1992-2005 in Chicago and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he previously served on the faculty at UNC. StreetSigns was named  by the Chicago Sun-Times as “the most exciting company to emerge in Chicago since John Cusack’s New Criminals,” and by the New York Times as “one of Chicago’s top theater companies.” He holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. His dissertation received the National Communication Association’s prestigious Outstanding Dissertation Award for his work The Politics and Poetics of Adaptation: Leon Forrest’s Divine Days.

Current/ongoing projects in addition to the theatrical and film versions of Remember This, and its curriculum Bearing Witness: The Legacy of Jan Karski Today include his collaboration with Mélisande Short-Colomb on her original solo performance Here I Am (with music from Grammy-Nominated Somi)which chronicles her experience as a direct descendant of the 1838 sale of enslaved persons which helped keep Georgetown afloat; Entwined, a new multidisciplinary work he wrote and directed about the great Spanish playwright and poet Federico Garcia Lorca and composer Manuel de Falla, that premiered to acclaim at the Kennedy Center starring Robin DeJesus and David Strathairn;  and This Train, a new work in development adapted from the work of the legendary Pulitzer Prize winning author Studs Terkel with whom he collaborated closely on several projects in Chicago.
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