Travis Preston is Artistic Director of the CalArts Center for New Performance and Dean of the CalArts School of Theater. He directs theater and opera throughout the world. Most recently, he completed the world premiere of CalArts Center for New Performance’s Fantômas: Revenge of the Image at the Wuzhen Theatre Festival in China. Last July he directed Sam Shepard’s Buried Child for the 40th anniversary season of the Hong Kong Repertory Theater. He was awarded Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture for “contributions to the arts in France and throughout the world.
He directed the critically-acclaimed CNP production of Prometheus Bound at the Getty Villa, from a world-premiere translation by Joel Agee. Other CNP directing projects include Gertrude Stein’s Brewsie and Willie and the acclaimed production of Macbeth with Stephen Dillane at REDCAT. This project performed at the Almeida Theatre in London and then traveled to Sydney and Adelaide, Australia. His groundbreaking staging of King Lear inaugurated the CalArts Center for New Performance. This production received critical acclaim in the U.S. and Europe, where it was presented at the Frictions Festival in France.
Other projects of note include The Master Builder at the Almeida Theater (with Stephen Dillane and Gemma Arterton), Boris Godounov, and a highly controversial production of Luigi Nono’s Al Gran Sole Carico D’Amore (both at the Hamburg State Opera), as well as directing the opening gala performance at the Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin.
His work in the United States includes the world premiere of Democracy in America at the Yale Repertory Theater; the American premiere of Buero-Vallejo's The Sleep of Reason at Center Stage; the world premiere of Ted Tally's Terra Nova at the Yale Repertory Theater; and, the American Premiere of Roberto Zucco by Bernard-Marie Koltès. In collaboration with The Private Theater, Travis Preston created The Last American in Paris. He has been a Resident Director at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge as well as an Associate Artist at the Yale Repertory Theatre and Center Stage.
As part of Copenhagen’s activities as Cultural City of Europe, Travis Preston directed Lulu by Alban Berg, a co-operation between the Danish National Symphony and the Royal Family of Denmark. In New York he directed, The Ghost Sonata, Woyzeck, Infrared, Anguished Devotion, and Paradise Bound: Part II, a piece written together with Royston Coppenger and performed in Central Park. Preston has staged several seminal productions of plays by Henrik Ibsen.
In association with the American Ibsen Theater (where he was Associate Director) he directed A Doll House, Little Eyolf, and Ghosts. His production of Little Eyolf was subsequently remounted at the Yale Repertory Theater. In addition to Lulu, he has mounted the operas Don Pasquale, Falstaff, Don Giovanni, and Saul and the Witch of Endor. He has directed acclaimed productions of Semiramide (Minnesota), Boris Godounov (Germany) and The Pearl Fishers (St. Louis).
In Europe he has directed Prometheus Bound (Poland), Alexander (Norway), The Seagull (England), and Macbeth (Denmark). He has also directed The Balcony in Hong Kong. His first feature film, Astonished, received critical acclaim throughout the world, including festivals in Montreal, Florence, Munich, Paris, Cairo, and Hong Kong. Revolution, a film he produced, was invited to festivals in Florence, Rotterdam, London, and Houston where it was awarded first prize.
He has taught at many universities and theater training programs throughout the world: The Yale School of Drama, Columbia School of the Arts, New York University, the National Theater School of Denmark, Indiana University, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, and Harvard University, where for six years he was Director of the Harvard Summer Drama Program.