NEW YORK—The Actors Center has announced the appointment of Alex Birnie as the organization’s new executive director. Birnie most recently served as the Center’s managing director and enters his first full season in his new role in September 2019.
The New York-based arts organization seeks to advance the continued artistic development of professional actors and currently houses a resident workshop company of 275 performing artists.
Birnie takes over the leadership of The Actors Center, previously led by its founder J. Michael Miller, artistic director emeritus Ron Van Lieu, and most recently Charles Tuthill.
The Center provides a working laboratory for actors removed from the pressures of production and results-oriented work, empowering artists to take risks, innovate, and expand their creative capabilities in collaboration with master teachers and guest artists from around the world. Since its founding in 1996, the Center has hosted extended residencies with many theatre luminaries including Lloyd Richards, Olympia Dukakis, Earle Gister, William Esper, Catherine Fitzmaurice, Joanna Merlin, Michael Kahn, and Maria Aitken, among many others.
“There is a tremendously rich legacy to The Actors Center,” says Birnie. “The calibre and integrity of artists who have contributed to advancing the craft of acting in collaboration with the Center over the past 23 years is deeply inspiring. I’m honored to carry forward this effort to support performing artists in unleashing their fullest creative and artistic potential in service of audiences across the country.”
“We are very fortunate to have Alex’s knowledge and passion for The Actors Center guiding our organization moving forward,” says president and board chair, Armand Schultz. “Alex’s leadership and vision will help build the next chapter in the creative journey for our exceptional company of artists.”
Birnie previously spent four years as the founding managing director of the National Alliance of Acting Teachers, an organization devoted to promoting the highest standards in actor training. At the Alliance, Birnie helped oversee the re-launch of its acclaimed Teacher Development Program and expansion to Los Angeles, also developing three teaching fellowships promoting greater diversity in the field and serving as managing editor of Parodos, a journal on actor training.
Birnie has previously worked both as a consultant and on staff with organizations including Miller Theatre at Columbia University and Columbia University’s Arts Initiative, The Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity, Oberlin College and Conservatory, Oberlin’s Creativity & Leadership Entrepreneurship Program, China Institute in America, and as an associate with boutique public relations firm Aleba & Co. Birnie is a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory, where he studied economics, music, and theater.