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Nigel Maister

Nigel Maister

  • Senior Lecturer
  • Artistic Director, the International Theatre Program

MFA, Carnegie Mellon University

210 Todd Union
(585) 273-5159

Research Overview

Nigel Maister has been the artistic director of the UR International Theatre Program since 2002 (before that he was the program's associate director). Born in South Africa, he has trained both as an actor and as a director. Productions include Hedda GabblerMiss JulieThe Threepenny Opera; the New York premiere of Manfred Karge's Conquest of the South Pole; the American premiere of his own translation (from the French) of Bernard Marie Koltè's Roberto Zucco (also Infernal Bridegroom Productions, dir. Troy Schulze); the world premieres of W. David Hancock's The Puzzle Locker, Howard Marc Solomon's The Wildman, Ernesto Brosa'sTowards Canaan, and his own Punch! (at the American Living Room Festival at Here, NYC). He has directed The Taming of the Shrew and A Lie of the Mind (both in Bulgarian) in Bulgaria, Kushner's A Bright Room Called Day in South Africa, and staged John Cage's Song Books for the ESM's "Ossia" new music ensemble, and Benedict Mason's AWS/Miller—The Fifth Music: Resume with C.P.E. Bach at Miller Theatre in NYC.

He has acted in Europe, South Africa, and the U.S., and studied clowning in the Czech Republic, Noh theatre with Noh master Akira Matsui, and puppetry at the National Puppetry Conference at the O'Neill (where he has also twice taught as a guest artist). He has worked with and/or assisted Peter Sellars, Giorgio Strehler, Richard Foreman, Christopher Alden, Tazewell Thompson, Theodora Skipitares and was the assistant director on the original NYTW production of Rent. For two seasons he was a staff director at Glimmerglass Opera, working on productions of Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelitesand Offenbach's Bluebeard. He is the recipient of a Drama League Directing Fellowship, the "Fleur du Cap" Theatre Award, the Steven Bochco Award, and the Van Staveren and WQED-Buhl Foundation fellowships. In addition, he has designed numerous productions and composed music for The Conference of the Birds,Hamlet, Strindberg's The Ghost Sonata, and Eliot's The Family Reunion, as well as for a ballet, The Swimming Hole.

He is the author of four plays, numerous theatrical adaptations, three librettos, and two song cycles, the most recent of which, Paper Trails (with music by Stefan Freund), premiered at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel auditorium in 2007. His adaptation of Robert Fagles's The Iliadreceived its world premiere at the University of Rochester in April 2000. His short fiction has been published by (amongst others) Penguin in Lynx—Contemporary South African Writing, and New Contrast: New South African WritingPrism International, and Tongues: Contemporary World Literature. He is a founding member and the resident staging director of the new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound (with whom he has staged concerts at the Lincoln Center Festival, Carnegie Hall, Miller Theatre, Cal Performances, and others), and a New York Theatre Workshop "Usual Suspect."

Selected Publications

Recent productions

  • Adding Machine: A Musical, by Joshua Schmidt and Jason Loewith
  • The Winter's Tale, by William Shakespeare
  • The Hairy Dutchman, by Andy Bragen
  • Hello Again, by Michael John LaChiusa
  • King Lear, by William Shakespeare
  • The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, by Peter Handke
  • The Lower Depths, by Maxim Gorki
  • Accidental Death of an Anarchist, by Dario Fo
  • The Puzzle Locker, by W. David Hancock
  • Various staged concerts by Alarm Will Sound, including at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center Festival, Holland Festival, River to River Festival, Duke University, St. Louis, and Cal Performances (Berkeley)

Recent writing

  • The Lower Depths, original adaptation
  • Accidental Death of an Anarchist, original adaptation
  • Paper Trails, original libretto


  • Staging Director: Alarm Will Sound
  • New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect