Kirsten Brandt

Kirsten Brandt.Office: HGH 110
(408) 924-4558

Kirsten Brandt is an interdisciplinary artist and educator whose practice embraces inquiries into gender, technology and politics.  An award-winning theatrical director, playwright, and producer with over 20 years of experience, her passion lies in igniting the imagination of audiences through visceral storytelling and visual poetry to encourage dialogue and ethical engagement. She specializes in Musical Theatre, Experimental Theater, devised and ensemble created events, Shakespeare, and the intersection of live performance and digital media. 

For seven years, she served as Executive Artistic Director of the Sledgehammer Theatre (San Diego’s leading alternative theatre) where she produced 25 productions including 11 world premieres such as Kirsten Nash’s musical Alice in Modernland and Kelly Stuart’s Furious Blood, five west coast premieres and directed 15 productions. Her avant-garde, gritty take on Sweet Charity earned her a coveted Backstage West award for her direction. In addition to directing, she wrote The Frankenstein Project which was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts; Berzerkergäng a play based on Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle; and NU: a play without words for which she received an award for outstanding choreography.

Brandt served as Associate Artistic Director of San José Repertory Theatre where she directed Rabbit Hole, Groundswell, The Big Meal, Legacy of Light, Splitting Infinity, Doctor Faustus, and Next Fall among others. Additionally, she was the casting director, literary manager and mentor for the Emerging Artists Lab. She has directed for The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, Theatreworks Silicon Valley, Arizona Theatre Company, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Marin Theatre Company, San Diego Repertory, City Lights Theatre, African-American Shakespeare Company, Santa Cruz Shakespeare, The Jewel Theater, North Coast Repertory, Diversionary Theatre, Show & Tale Productions (Canada), Playwrights Project, and Sierra Rep. She has directed readings and workshops for NYU (Strasberg Studio), New Dramatists, San Francisco Playhouse, New Fortune Theater, Mo’olelo Theatre, and ASK Theatre Projects.

As a playwright, her plays/musicals have been produced at Sledgehammer Theater, Unbound Productions (Wicked Lit), The Old Globe, Southwestern College and the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Her rock musical The Snow Queen (co-authored with Rick Lombardo and Haddon Kime) originally premiered at San José Rep and continues to be produced nationally and internationally (available through Stage Rights/Amazon). Her telematic play The Thinning Veil received its premiere at UC Santa Cruz.

As an educator, Brandt has taught or directed for UC Santa Cruz (continuing lecturer), UC Davis (Granada Artist in Residence), UC San Diego, and American Conservatory Theatre’s MFA Program. She is currently Assistant Professor of Musical Theater at San José State University. She has taught courses in Musical Theatre, Directing, Playwriting, Acting, Experimental Theatre, Women in Theater, Walt Disney and Shakespeare.

She received her BA in Theatre from UC San Diego where she took part in the Education Abroad Program in Birmingham, England.  Her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College focuses on gender in performance, performative technologies and environmental justice. She is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, The Dramatists Guild of America and the National Theatre Conference. Ms. Brandt is an Instigator with the Bay Area Women’s Theater Festival 2020 and previously served on the Theatre Bay Area Gender Parity Committee.

Please visit Kirsten Brandt website at to view photographs, videos and press.

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