Under Simpkins and executive director Alice Bemand's leadership, TSP will now align with NYU Steinhardt and universities across the country to allow students performing at the non-profit company to earn college course credit. The TriArts Sharon Playhouse employs union and non-union performers for its summer season.
Simpkins previously staged the The Wedding Singer and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at the TriArts Sharon Playhouse in recent years. He is also set to stage the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent there this summer.
He is also a faculty member of the music theatre program at NYU's Steinhardt School, where he has staged The Fix, Floyd Collins, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Merrily We Roll Along, Parade, Fiorello! and A New Brain.
"We hope to position TriArts Sharon Playhouse as one of the premiere summer theatres in the country – combining the excellence of union and non-union professional actors with emerging college talent and the CT community," Simpkins said in a statement. "This collaboration will create an exciting and unique environment where everyone is learning from each other in the production process. It is our goal to channel that energy in order to build a large and vibrant audience as well as a reputation for being a terrific place to create theatre.” Simpkins will maintain his active professional directing career as well as his faculty position at NYU while taking on this leadership role for TriArts."
Simpkins regularly collaborates with contemporary theatre composer-lyricist Joe Iconis. The two have worked together on the Drama Desk Award-nominated Bloodsong of Love, as well as ReWrite and Things to Ruin (which he co-conceived). His regional stagings include productions at the Engeman Theater, Sacramento Music Circus and the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. He has also developed works at the Goodspeed Opera House, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, NAMT, NYMF, SPF at the Public Theatre, York Theatre, Barrington Stage, Merkin Hall, CAP 21 and Ars Nova. Visit TriArts.