Karin Coonrod is a theater maker whose work has been seen and heard across the country and around the world. Born in Chicago with first memories in Noli, Italy, Coonrod studied English at Gordon College in Massachusetts and Theater Directing at Columbia University, where her mentor was Liviu Ciulei.
She founded two theater companies: 1) Arden Party in downtown New York from 1987-1997 which re-imagined the classics (including Ubu Roi, Waiting for Godot, Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Antigone, Marat/Sade et al) and 2) Compagnia de’ Colombari (2004-present) an international company (based in New York) which began a new tradition of theater in Orvieto, Italy with the medieval mystery plays in public spaces (Strangers and Other Angels 2004-2006) as well as a music-theater piece More Or Less I Am (from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself) performed around New York City.
Coonrod is known for her Shakespeare productions including her epic Henry VI (1996) and surprising Love’s Labor’s Lost (2011) both at the Public Theater (where she was Artist-in-Residence from 1995-96); King John (2000), Julius Caesar (2003) and Coriolanus (2005) all with Theatre for a New Audience; Othello at Hartford Stage (2005) and many others.
Other seminal productions include her own creation for the stage of non-dramatic material: Flannery O’Connor’s Everything That Rises Must Converge developed at the University of Iowa, Sundance Theatre Lab and premiered at New York Theatre Workshop (2001), Anne Sexton’s Transformations with Arden Party (1991-5) and a cabaret adaptation of Lorca’s Poeta en Nueva York with flamenco dancer La Conja at New York University (2002).
She prepared new translations: Vvedensky’s Christmas at the Ivanovs’ with Julia Listengarten (1996); Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba with Nilo Cruz (1997); and Victor or Children Take Over with Frederic Maurin (1994), all of which she directed in acclaimed productions.
Coonrod’s work is featured in American Theatre Magazine, Shakespeare Bulletin, Sipario nel Mondo (Italian theater journal), Scena.Ro (Romanian theater magazine).
As a guest artist/teacher Coonrod has developed work at NYU, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Cal Institute of the Arts, Fordham, Colgate, Gordon College and Univ of Iowa. She is on the faculty at Yale School of Drama (since 2002).