Benny Sato Ambush

2016 Artist in Residence

Benny Sato Ambush is a veteran SDC stage director, institutional theatre leader, educator, published commentator and consultant. Currently, he is Senior Distinguished Producer-In-Residence of Emerson Stage, the Emerson College Department of Performing Arts producing organization in Boston, where he is also on the acting and directing faculty. Mr. Ambush has been Artistic Director of three theaters, two of them professional: the  LORT C TheatreVirginia (Richmond, VA) and  the SPT Oakland Ensemble Theatre (Oakland, CA).  He is one of only fourteen people-of-color to have ever been an Artistic Director of a LORT theatre. Previously, he was Associate Artistic Director of San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater; Acting Artistic Director - Providence, RI's Rites and Reason Theatre Company; Co-Artistic Director - San Francisco Bay Area Playwrights Festival; Director-In-Residence - Manalapan, Florida's Florida Stage; Associate Artistic Director of Anna Deavere Smith's Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue at Harvard University. He is a seasoned professional director with numerous theaters nationally (partial list): The Old Globe; Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland; South Coast Rep; Alabama Shakespeare Festival; American Conservatory Theater; Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company; Magic Theatre; Geva Theatre; Playwrights Horizon; Ford's Theatre; Triad Stage, American Repertory Theater Institute; Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays; Lincoln Center Theater Institute; Heart of America Shakespeare Festival; Indiana's New Harmony Project; Actors Guild of Lexington, KY; Alaska Theatre of Youth; International Theatre Festival of Chicago; Sacramento Theatre Company; National Black Theatre Festival; Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre; Lyric Stage Company of Boston; Gloucester Stage Company; The New Rep; TheatreSquared, The Lost Colony. He has been nominated for and has won awards for his directing almost everywhere he has worked.

As an educator, he served as Director (equivalent to a Chair) of the Institute for Teledramatic Arts and Technology, California State University, Monterey Bay. He has taught acting and directing to MFA, BFA and BA students for decades in a number of  other colleges and universities nationally and intrnationally. His service to the field includes having been a former Board Member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and he is currently an Emeritus TCG Trustee. He has been a panelist and peer site evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), several State Arts Councils, and the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. He was a United States Information Agency Cultural Tour Delegate to Kenya and the former Soviet Union. Currently, he is a Board Member of The National Theatre Conference, a founding Steering Committee Member of The Craftsmen of Dionysus: a Society of Acting Teachers, and an Adjudicator for the American Association of Community Theatres having done service in Germany, Italy, Turkey, Belgium and the U.S.

Mr. Ambush is skilled in directing, teaching, producing, organizational development, grant writing, artistic administration, consulting, mentoring, curriculum development, planning, fund raising, public speaking, community organizing, writing, public event emcee, public narration. He is also a theatre consultant and a published commentator.

He has a BA in Theatre Arts and Dramatic Literature from Brown University and an MFA in Directing from the University of California, San Diego.