Matt Shakman Named Geffen’s New Artistic Director

Los Angeles News   Matt Shakman Named Geffen’s New Artistic Director
The film and theatre director will take the helm at L.A.’s Geffen Playhouse in September.
Matt Shakman
Matt Shakman

Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse has announced that theatre, film, and television director Matt Shakman has been named its newest artistic director. Shakman will join the Geffen staff in putting together the 2018–2019 season beginning September 20.

Shakman founded the L.A.-based Black Dahlia Theatre in 2001 and served as its artistic director. Under his leadership, productions such as Hey, Morgan; Theatre District; Nocturne; and Orson’s Shadow garnered a number of Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and LA Stage Alliance nominations and awards. In 2011, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle awarded Shakman the Milton Katselas Award for Career Achievement in Direction.

Alongside his theatre career, Shakman has continued to direct for film and television. He recently helmed two episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones and is a director and producer for FX’s long-running It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. His directing credits also include episodes of The Good Wife, Fargo, and Mad Men.

Shakman’s relationship with the Geffen Playhouse began in 2012 when he directed the West Coast premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People. He returned to the L.A. theatre to direct Jeffrey Hatcher’s world-premiere adaptation of Frederick Knott’s Wait Until Dark in 2013, as well as the Geffen staging of Joshua Harmon’s Off-Broadway comedy Bad Jews the following season.

“As a long-standing admirer of the Geffen—both for the high-quality work that it produces and for the amazing community it has cultivated with audiences and artists alike—I am thrilled to take on the exciting opportunity of growing the reach of the theater and nurturing the inclusive values that are so essential to its success. It’s a dream come true to join such a vibrant cultural institution,” Shakman commented in a press statement.

“We are thrilled to welcome Matt Shakman to the Geffen Playhouse as our new Artistic Director,” commented Geffen Co-Chairs Martha Henderson and Pamela Robinson on behalf of the Board of Directors. “After a comprehensive nationwide search, Matt clearly emerged as our first choice. His unique artistic vision, coupled with his directorial and entertainment business experience, makes him an outstanding cultural fit for our theater. He and Gil Cates, Jr. make an incredibly powerful team to lead the Geffen into the future.”

Shakman will work alongside Geffen Executive Director Gil Cates, Jr.

“I am delighted to welcome Matt to the Geffen,” commented Cates. “His passion for extraordinary storytelling, his strong relationships with artists in theatre, film and television, and his commitment to fostering community will be immensely valuable as we continue to advance the mission of the theater.”

For more information on the Geffen Playhouse, visit


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