Mara Isaacs

Mara Isaacs. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

Mara Isaacs is the founder and director of Octopus Theatricals LLC, a company dedicated to producing and consulting in the performing arts. With over 20 years of producing experience at flagship theaters in the United States, she is recognized as a field leader in new play and new musical development and production as well as nonprofit organizational leadership. Isaacs began her professional career at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, where she produced new play development programs and productions from 1990–95. In 1995, she joined the McCarter Theatre Center staff, first as resident producer and then as producing director. For 18 seasons, she produced McCarter’s theater series and play development programs including numerous commissions and productions of new plays and musicals and transfers to Broadway and off-Broadway, to theaters around the country and internationally. She teaches courses in creative producing, international theater, and musical theater development for Princeton University, and has twice been selected as a mentor with the TCG New Generations Program. Isaacs has served the Center as a theater panel chair in 2010 and 2011, as well as a theater panelist in 2009 and an LOI panelist in 2013. Most recently, she was a 2014 Pew Fellowships panelist.


Patricia Lent of the Merce Cunningham Trust, theater-maker Richard Schechner, and video/installation artist Sharon Hayes gather to discuss the question of reenactment in cultural practice, with UC Berkeley professor Shannon Jackson as moderator.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Fiach Mac Conghail has led the Abbey Theatre, the national theatre of Ireland, as director and CEO since 2005.

Grants & Grantees

Christian Michel is a painter and a 1993 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

James Sugg (Pew Fellow, 2010) describes himself as a bridge—a bridge between music and theater, composer and performer, and traditional and ensemble-generated theater.

We asked Polly Carl, director and editor of HowlRound: Are excellence and accessibility mutually exclusive concepts?

Grants & Grantees

Sheila M. Sofian is a filmmaker and a 1997 Pew Fellow.

Filmmaker and Pew Fellow David Scott Kessler on creating environmentally-conscious art, turning limitations into creative assets, and more.

Grants & Grantees

Founded in 1900, the Philadelphia Orchestra has distinguished itself as one of the world’s leading orchestras.

Grants & Grantees

Robert Maggio is a musician and a 1999 Pew Fellow.

Director Romeo Castellucci’s work returns to Philadelphia with The Four Seasons Restaurant, which uses the infamous unfulfilled Mark Rothko commission as a jumping-off point to explore the impact of absence on the human psyche.

Grants & Grantees

An urban performing arts center on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, the Annenberg Center presents touring theater, jazz, and world music.

This research project will examine the unknown biography of aristocrat and eminent botanist William Hamilton and his role as a “bachelor gentleman” in 18th-century Philadelphia, with the goal of creating new interpretive programs that will enable visitors to connect to contemporary discourse on family, class, gender, and race.