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New ATC artistic director 'on a cloud' about move to Arizona

New ATC artistic director 'on a cloud' about move to Arizona

Regional theatre company announces hire of AD from Utah

  • Matt August will serve as the new artistic director for the Arizona Theatre Company.
    courtesy of ATCMatt August will serve as the new artistic director for the Arizona Theatre Company.

The new artistic director for Arizona Theatre Company is "on a cloud" about taking on his new role with the new year.

Matt August will replace Sean Daniels, who is moving to Florida, next year.

"I am so happy to have this new position" as the Kasser Family artistic director for the state's regional theatre company, he told the Sentinel.

August has racked up 27 years of experience in the theatre world as both an educator and as a director. His work as a director ranges from musicals to opera and classic plays.

He directed the popular holiday show "How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical" when it came to Broadway in 2006 and 2007, "breaking Broadway box office records."

August has had previous experience with ATC. He directed "King Charles III" in 2016 and 2017 and "Discord" in 2015 and 2016. He also directed the national tours from 2010 to 2019 and from 2021 to this year. Plus, they went to the United Kingdom for a tour in 2019.

He said ATC had reached out to him to ask if he would be willing to relocate for the new position. He has been living in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he served as assistant professor of directing at the Utah Valley University.

"There were different candidates they were vetting," August said. "I applied, you know, threw my hat in and made my case, what I would like to create for ATC. And I guess I made a really good argument."

He said he is currently in a transitional period preparing for his move.

"It's boots on the ground by January 1," August said.

August said he is already planning what he wants to do with the theatre next year and what shows to bring, but nothing is set yet.

"I think overall I want to make sure we grow our confidence, especially with more people feeling comfortable and safe to gather again," August said.

When he isn't in the theater, August is the proud father of three girls. He said his life outside of the theater is mundane and domestic, consisting of taking the girls to school or doctor's appointments and going on walks with their dog.

August specializes in Shakespeare plays, holiday classics and newer contemporary pieces. His work has also been staged in Off-Broadway venues and the League of Resident Theatres.

He earned his BFA in performance studies from the University of Colorado and a MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and began his work in the industry "pretty much out of graduate school."

He was Tony Award-winning director Jack O'Brien's apprentice for four years from 2000 to 2004. If he could spend a day with a playwright - dead or alive - he would like to hang out with Terrence McNally.

"He wrote such astonishing, groundbreaking work that covered so many facets of American life," August said. "And I did get to work with him on 'The Full Monty'."

Bianca Morales is’s Cultural Expression and Community Values reporter, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.

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