Hi, I’m Michael Rau.

I’m a live performance director.

I work in theater, opera, live performance, and narrative design. I have worked as a Live Performance Director for events, served as a Narrative Designer and Creative Strategist. I move between theater, opera, classic texts, new plays, and devised work. With my recent work, I am trying to expand the definition of theater and plays into new forms of storytelling for an audience and finding different ways to represent our world onstage. I’m interested in the problematic relationship between text, images, speech and music.

I’ve collaborated with Michael Yates Crowley since 2007, and we run a narrative technology company called Wolf 359. Together our work together has toured to Germany, the UK, and Ireland, and we host a bi-monthly new work/reading series at Jimmys No 43 in the East Village. As an independent director I’ve worked in venues from 2000 seat opera houses to 50 seat black boxes, and have directed everything from a promenade style performance on an abandoned bridge in Cleveland to completely devised piece about Ayn Rand and Beethoven to a radically updated version of AIDA at Opera Santa Barbara. I’ve also taught at NYU, Columbia University, and Wesleyan University, and I’m graduate of the MFA Directing program at Columbia under Anne Bogart and Brian Kulick.

Professional Bio

MICHAEL RAU is a theater director specializing in new plays, re-imagined classics, and opera. 

Since 2008 he has been working internationally in Germany, the UK, Ireland, Canada, and Greece. He recently made his German language directing premiere at Theater Bielefeld. He has also created work in New York City at PS122, The Culture Project, HERE Arts Center, Ars Nova, The Bushwick Starr, The Brick, 59E59, 3LD and Dixon Place. He has directed productions regionally in Chicago and Cleveland, and was a guest artist at Wesleyan University in 2011. He has developed and directed new plays at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, the Lark and New York Theater Workshop. His recent work includes his work included Machinal at the Atlantic Theater Company Conservatory, restaging Aida at Opera Santa Barbara, and creating three new productions, a performance piece based on German Lieder, a staging of contemporary poems by Erica Wright, and nouveaux circus staging of Sherry Kramer’s David’s Redhaired Death.

Upcoming projects include: A residency at EMERGE to develop “The Problems of Human Motion,” a video/dance/theater piece based on the photography of Edward Muybridge.

He is the artistic director and co-founder of Wolf 359, with playwright Michael Yates Crowley. As a theater company they have been working together since 1998 and their production of Righteous Money has been on tour since 2009 and has visited Berlin, Dublin, Edinburgh, three small cities in Germany, and had two runs in New York City. Their production of The Ted Haggard Monologues was awarded the undergroundzero prize for Artistic Excellence, selected by New York Magazine as a “Critics Pick” and filmed by HBO. Their most recent show was developed at the IRT theater and was presented at the Public Theater in Joe’s Pub.

Outside of his company, his devised work includes the games we used to play, which he co-created with Max Goldblatt, took first place at Les Fêtes théâtrales du Suroît in 2005, and Absent  with Jeremy Paul which used the entire span of the Detroit-Superior Bridge in downtown Cleveland. His production of Four Saints in Three Acts was selected as a noteworthy production of the 2008 Opera America Director/Designer Showcase. His production of The Great God Brown was exhibited as part of the 2011 Prague Quadrennial.

Michael Rau is a recipient of the Willard Fellowship from Columbia University (2007). He also received the 2006 Kennedy Center Directing Fellowship, a 2007 New Play Network Directing Fellowship and a 2008 TCG National Conference Grant. He was an Artist-in-Residence at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center for three years, and has taught at New York University, Wesleyan University and Columbia University. He has developed the curriculum and led the Kennedy Center Directing Intensive on New Play Development and has created the Snow Camp Directing Workshop at the Strand Theater in Baltimore, MD.

He has served as an assistant for John Turturro at Classic Stage Company, Les Waters at A.R.T., and Robert Woodruff at San Francisco Opera. He was selected as Young Artist Program for The Glimmerglass Festival where he assisted Anne Bogart on her production of Carmen,  as well as Leon Major’s production of Later the Same Evening, and Francesca Zambello on the world premiere of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s opera Blizzard on Marbleheadneck   He has served as an associate director for Francesca Zambello’s critically acclaimed production of Showboat and Aida. He is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and a graduate of Wesleyan University and received his MFA in Theater Directing from Columbia University.