Caitlin Ryan O'Connor

Caitlin Ryan O'Connell
Theatre Studies
B.A., Wellesley College, M.F.A. in Theatre Directing, Brown University

Caitlin Ryan O'Connell

Visiting Lecturer

How does one lead? How do we listen? How do we express and embody care?

I am a freelance director and teaching artist currently interested in these questions:  How does one lead? How can we support one another in creative practice right now? How do we listen? How do we express and embody care? Where is our personal and collective space to wander and wonder and how can we invite that into class? What are the experiences/offerings/rituals we wish to curate for one another? What are we most stuck on/lost in at the moment? Is there creative space around that?
In my professional life, I direct new plays that embrace new forms of storytelling and invite new ways of understanding our world. I thrive creatively when I can dig into the play early and often with the playwright and find an interdependence with all my collaborators. As a new play director, I work dramaturgically, attempting to illuminate what is on the page through rigorous conversation between all my creative partners. Together, we search for how we can tune the audiences’ ears and bodies into the play and surprise and delight them.
I have directed and developed work at Clubbed Thumb, The Public Theater, The Bushwick Starr, Ars Nova, The Lark, Roundabout, Fault Line Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Denver Center, and Montana Repertory Theatre. I also teach storytelling and memoir writing at two senior centers in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This work embraces applied theater and drama therapy techniques. We create small plays weekly with the seniors through prompts and group conversations. Over the past few years, I have spent summers in Rwanda teaching teenagers playwriting and theater devising, culminating in an original play that they write and perform. I have taught directing, collaboration, and new play development at NYU's Playwrights Horizons Theater School, Vassar College and the National Theater Institute.
I am most interested in how making, studying and processing theater can cultivate new forms of expression, listening, seeing, and understanding. Whether I am working with undergrads, senior citizens, or high schoolers in Rwanda, I invite all students to show up with voracious curiosity, generosity, and alacrity. I received my BA from Wellesley College (purple class of 2010!) with honors in the Theatre Studies Department, and my MFA in Theatre Directing from Brown University. I love cooking new recipes that take all day to make, cross-country skiing, adventuring anywhere with my two sisters, and fostering puppies.