Leslie Swackhamer is an award-winning director and dramaturg of opera and theatre, particularly known for directing large works with bravura ensembles and bold visuals.
Equally at home with new and established pieces, she has workshopped, directed and produced over 100 new works at theatre and opera companies across America. Opera companies where she has directed include The National Opera at the Kennedy Center, Vancouver Opera, Opera Carolina, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Omaha, Madison Opera, Dayton Opera, Opera in the Heights, and The San Francisco Opera. She has held artistic leadership positions at The Cleveland Play House and ACT Theatre (Seattle). A passionate advocate and activist for new plays and work by women, she is the Executive Director of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the oldest and largest international prize specifically honoring women playwrights. She also founded the Women Playwright's Festival and was a founding board member and President of Theatre Puget Sound in Seattle. Theatres where her work has been produced include Southcoast Rep, The Alley Theatre, Stages Repertory Theatre, Madison Rep, Seattle Rep, The Empty Space, Florida Studio Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare, The Cherry Lane, ACT Theatre, The Cleveland Play House, American Stage, Cleveland Public, Intiman Theatre, Stages Brave New Works (Atlanta), and The Playwrights Center. Ms. Swackhamer holds an MFA in directing from the University of Washington School of Drama. She is a proud member of the professional unions AGMA and SDC.