Erin Murray is excited to be directing at the distinguished Seattle University with its award winning faculty and exceptional students. In 2017 and 2018, she directed the Seattle Shakespeare Company statewide touring productions of ROMEO AND JULIET, and two world premiere bilingual (Spanish/Shakespeare) productions: THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and TWELFTH NIGHT. Her 2017 professional premiere of Scott Kaiser’s SHAKESPEARE’S OTHER WOMEN has been revived by Island Shakespeare Festival for a 2018 run in Seattle. Next, Erin will direct the Seattle premiere of Annie Baker’s JOHN at ArtsWest in March. When she is not directing or travelling, Erin is a proud teaching artist at Youth Theatre Northwest where she teaches a contemporary play analysis class, Kilroys and Coffee, focused on female, trans, and non-binary playwrights. Additional Seattle directing credits include: Helen Parfumi’s WONDERFUL LIFE (ArtsWest), Jen Silverman’s THE MOORS (Forward Flux, Salon X), and Tanya Saracho’s FADE (Tacoma Spark Grant Awardee). Chicago directing credits include Anne Washburn’s THE INTERNATIONALIST (Steppenwolf Garage), the Midwest premiere of Suzanne Heathcoat’s I SAW MY NEIGHBOR… (Redwist Theatre, Jeff Recommended), and the world premieres of Tracy Letts’ MARY PAGE MARLOWE and his adaptation of THREE SISTERS (Asst. Director, Steppenwolf). In 2012, Erin executive produced the world premiere of Ariel Zetina’s PINK MILK: A MAGICAL TRAGEDY LOOSELY BASED ON THE LIFE OF ALAN TURING at New York International Fringe Festival and Chicago Theatre Festival. Dublin credits include: the Irish premieres of John Cameron Mitchell’s HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (Best Production at the Spiegeltent, Winner, Dublin Fringe) and Rebecca Gilman’s THE GLORY OF LIVING (Dublin County tour). From 2005 – 2008, Erin was the staff director for Dublin’s Opera Theatre Company where she toured six fully-staged operas across Western Europe and Associate Directed Mozart's BASTIEN AND BASTIENNE (Irish National Tour). Education: MFA, Northwestern University; BA, Trinity College Dublin. ErinMurrayDirects.com
Article and Images by Nic Parsons
Behind the scenes this quarter at Seattle University is guest artist Erin Murray, director of our program’s main stage production, “You On The Moors Now,” by Jaclyn Backhaus. Erin Murray is a femme-focused theatre artist from University place WA whose love of theatre began at the age of 13. While her first experience with the world of live performance was at an acting camp at age 7, she truly left her heart in Ashland, OR during her first encounter with the annual “Oregon Shakespeare Festival,” and by age 18 she already directed her first full-length production: Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story.”
Murray graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in Drama and Theatre Studies where she soon thereafter began her career in earnest as a director, producer, and storyteller. A fan of big choices and bright colors, SU’s theatre program is incredibly lucky and grateful to have her on our staff for this Winter. In a recent interview with Murray, she was asked to tell us a bit more about why she chose this show in particular.
“What has really taken my breath away about this play,” Murray mentioned, “is the sheer amount of information and research that was required to take a strong direct stance on this material. This is a play that demands a point of view because the written text is so deliciously open.” Her open mindedness and experience with empowering women within theatre has given the cast and crew of this production many valuable tools to grapple with its resonant messages on gender roles, feminine subjugation, and the importance personal liberation from social standards.
Some of the most influential shows for Murray that have aided in her directing process are Sarah Kane’s “448 Psychosis,” as well as Backhaus’ other famous work, “Men on Boats” which is the play that lead her to discover and ultimately select this production to produce at SU this quarter. Murray adds, “It’s from the Killroy’s list. My friend actually set-designed the Chicago premier of this show in the Fall of 2017, and because it was by the same author, I knew I wanted to read it. When I did, all I could think about was, ‘how on earth does someone put this on a stage?’ It feels like a live music video… I think Backhaus has really provided us with a live cinematic experience for the theatre, and I can’t wait to see what it turns into!”
Murray’s has had experience directing the works of world-renowned playwrights such as William Inge, Arthur Miller, Henrik Ibsen, and of course, Shakespeare, ; she is currently using Y.O.T.M.N. to explore the enthralling and exquisite nature of first love in this colorful stimulating production. She is humbled and excited to be diving into a show based on the works of such tremendously talented authresses as Jane Austen, Lousia May Alcott, and the Brontë Sisters. After considering the biographies of these women who were writing at a time when female voices in literature were not being highlighted in the society of the era, Murray had this to say: “I would love for the authors of these books to know,” she said, “that the women of now are still learning form these stories today - delighting in them even.” And to this, she hopes to hold true to all who come and attend Seattle University’s upcoming show.
Want more form Murray? Come see another one of her spectacularly directed shows, Scott Kaiser’s “Shakespeare’s Other Women” opening in early february 2018 for The Island Shakespeare Festival. Want to see “You on The Moors Now?” Check out our website, Tickets are on sale now!