In 1997, the Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama invited acclaimed director Peter Sellars to campus to deliver two lectures as part of the Ralph L. Collins Memorial Lecture Series, Theatre and Opera: Spectacular Social Action and Theatre of the Moral Imagination. During his time in Bloomington, he consulted on the designs of the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, then in its planning stages.
Peter Sellars is one of the most sought-after of todays theatre, opera, and television directors, having directed more than 100 productions across America and abroad. At 25, largely as a result of his non-traditional approach to classic plays, he won the MacArthur Foundation Award, frequently referred to as the genius award. Since then, he has served as Artistic Director of the Boston Shakespeare Company, Director of the American National Theatre at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and Artistic Director and Producer of the biennial Los Angeles Festival. He is currently a professor of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA.
Peter Sellars modern stagings of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, and Don Giovanni toured worldwide and were taped for video distribution. Sellars has also won wide renown for his productions of new operas, most notably Oliver Messaien’s monumental St Francois dAssise and, with choreographer Mark Morris, John Adams and Alice Goodman’s Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer.
His first feature film, The Cabinet of Dr. Ramirez, is silent in color starring Joan Cusack, Peter Gallagher, Ron Vawter, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. His production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice played to sold-out houses in Chicago (The Goodman Theatre), London (at the invitation of The Royal Shakespeare Company), Hamburg, and Paris, and was the basis for a companion film that he made for the BBC entitled It is Now Our Time. Sellars worked in collaboration with composer John Adams and poet/librettist June Jordan on I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky, an earthquake/romance, which was seen in Berkely, Montreal, New York, Edinburgh, Helsinki, Paris, and Hamburg.
Sellars has collaborated with Wooster Group and was featured in Jean-Luc Godards film of King Lear. He has also appeared on Bill Moyers’ A World of Ideas, Miami Vice, and The Equalizer, directed a rock video for Herbie Hancock, and produced a series of radio episodes for The Museum of Contemporary Arts The Territory of Art series. Current projects include Handel’s Theodora, Ligetis Le Grand Macabre, and a survey exhibition of 29 years of video installations by artist Bill Viola.