Carden, a director and actor, was the artistic director of the HB Playwrights Foundation and Theatre from 1994 to 2006 and also has close ties to EST. He has been a member of EST for almost 30 years and served on its board of directors — at one point chairing the members council — until his appointment at HB.
At HB, Carden directed Nicholas Wright's Mrs. Klein, starring Uta Hagen, which went on to a commercial run Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, followed by a national tour. Carden's HB production of Collected Stories by Donald Margulies also starred Hagen and also transferred to the Lortel Theatre, before playing the Stratford Festival in Canada and the Bronfman Center in Montreal.
Carden's other HB directing credits include The Habitation Of Dragons by Horton Foote, War in Paramus by Barbara Dana, New World Rhapsody by Adam Kraar, Burnt Piano by Justin Fleming, Voir Dire by Joe Sutton, Mall America by Peter Sagal, The Wax by Kathleen Tolan and the 25th anniversary production of Miguel Piñero's Short Eyes.
In November 1999, Carden directed a reading of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Hagen, Jonathan Pryce, Mia Farrow and Matthew Broderick at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway and the following spring at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles (with Peter Gallagher replacing Matthew Broderick). The following season he directed Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Stratford Festival in Canada. Off-Broadway he directed James Ryan's The Young Girl and The Monsoon at Playwrights Horizons, The Dew Point by Neena Beber and one-act plays for the EST Marathon.
In the fall of 1995 Carden brought together established playwrights and formed the HB Playwrights Unit, which in the spring of 1997 produced its first short play festival The Motel Plays, which became an annual event until 2005. Carden has acted in works at Manhattan Theatre Club, Circle Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre and numerous regional theatres. On Broadway he created the title role in the original production of Short Eyes. He has been seen in a variety of television shows, most recently "Law & Order."
Dempster, who passed away at 71, founded EST in 1972. Over the next 35 years, he produced more than 6,000 plays, many by playwrights who went on to become some of America's most prominent dramatists.
A formal memorial service for Dempster will take place on April 29 at 5 PM at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street.
For more information visit www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org.