Cohen will be the second producing artistic director in the history of the Center, which focuses entirely on new play development. At Hartford Stage, he quadrupled the size of the Brand:NEW Fall Festival of New Work and created the AETNA New Voices Fellowship, in addition to directing the world premiere of Laura Eason's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the East Coast premiere of Craig Wright's Mistakes Were Made and many other works. Prior to his time at Hartford, he founded Chicago's Naked Eye Theatre Company. "As producing artistic director, Cohen will focus on advocacy for writers and new work, and work to deepen and expand the Center's artistic programs and funder relations," according to a press statement. Interim director Craig Harris will remain in an executive leadership role for several months to aid in the transition before moving into a consulting role to focus on the expansion of multimedia and technology integration at the Playwrights' Center.
Cohen will relocate to the Twin Cities with his family in August and begin work at the Playwrights' Center in September. He said in a statement, "Supporting playwrights in deep and meaningful ways, as well as nurturing their new work, has been my passion for the past 15 years. The opportunity to lead such a nationally respected and influential organization in the field is thrilling."