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October 22, 2022

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Photo Credit: Sasha Diamond

New York Stage and Film announced that Artistic Director Chris Burney will be leaving at the end of his contract in December 2022 to pursue new, professional opportunities in education and commercial theatre. Liz Carlson, who has been part of NYSAF for more than 15 years, most recently serving as Artistic Producer, will become the Interim Artistic Director effective immediately and work alongside Burney until his departure. Carlson will program the 2023 and 2024 Summer Seasons and all other year-round programming,  and work with the Board over the next two years to implement an extensive and inclusive search for a new Artistic Director.


For over 35 years, NYSAF has been considered “one of the preeminent incubators for theater in the country.”  Burney joined NYSAF in 2019 and in his three years as Artistic Director, he supported artists through the pandemic with new initiatives like Nexus, online development and readings, as well as expanded mentorship opportunities.

LIZ CARLSON (Interim Artistic Director) is an NYC-based creative producer and director committed to the development of new stories. Prior to stepping in as Interim Artistic Director, Liz produced and directed with NYSAF in various capacities over the past 15 years, notably as the full-time Artistic Producer for the past seven, supporting artists such as César Alvarez, Jaki Bradley, Lyndsey Bourne, Lily Houghton, Keelay Gipson, Jessica Huang, Melissa Li & Kit Yan, Don Nguyen, Brian Quijada & Nygel D. Robinson, Kirya Traber, Lauren Yee, and hundreds more. Liz also served as the Artistic Director for the new works incubator Naked Angels from 2013-2016. As a director, Liz has developed plays and musicals with Ars Nova, The Dramatists’ Guild, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Flea, Keen Company, Manhattan School of Music, Manhattan Theatre Club, The New Group, Playwrights Horizons, The Playwrights Realm, Signature Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and more. Upcoming directing projects include a new-play workshop with Minita Gandhi at Berkeley Rep’s The Ground Floor, and the final installment of a musical podcast with the Drama Desk-nominated folk band The Lobbyists. MFA The New School for the Performing Arts, Drama. Recipient of The Drama League Fellowship. 





June 8, 2023

NYSAF is welcoming two new members to the leadership team: Natalie Gershtein as Executive Artistic Producer and Eric Kuhn as Executive Producer, who join Interim Artistic Director Liz Carlson in guiding the organization through a period of programming, engagement, and strategic planning. After serving as Executive Director since 2012, Thomas Pearson is stepping down from this role. He joins Management Consultants for the Arts (MCA) as a consultant focusing on leadership search and transitions, strategic planning, and organizational change. 


“The NYSAF community is excited to welcome Natalie and Eric to the leadership team,” said Interim Artistic Director Liz Carlson. “Their joint dedication and experience towards supporting artists at early stages of their work will continue to bolster our mission as we look towards a vibrant future ahead. With the support of our committed staff and Board of Directors, we will continue to offer our vital programming with the adaptability, rigor, and joy our community has come to cherish. We are all so grateful for Thomas’s contribution to our success for over 10 years; we are delighted we will remain colleagues in the field of service.”


NATALIE GERSHTEIN (Executive Artistic Produer) is a Co-Director of Pipeline Theatre Company after serving as the company’s Producing Artistic Director from 2018-2023. Natalie has also been a part of the executive producing team of Broadway’s Come From Away since 2016 and has opened productions of the show in Dublin, London, Australia, and throughout North America. Prior to her time with Pipeline and Come From Away, Natalie was the Associate Director of Young Playwrights Inc., founded by Stephen Sondheim, and the Artistic Producer of Beautiful City Theatre, which she co-founded in Montreal. In New York, she has worked on several festivals in the city, including the 27th Annual Festival of New Musicals with NAMT, Cherry Lane Theatre’s 2015 Mentor Project; The Public Theater’s 2014 and 2015 Under the Radar Festivals; and the 2013 Lincoln Center Festival, and worked with various other companies including Lincoln Center Theater, Second Stage Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, MCC, and Ars Nova. Natalie was the line producer for The Actors Fund’s 10th anniversary reunion concert of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with the original Broadway cast. Natalie was a panelist at the 2015 ATHE Conference, and has also been a guest speaker in classes at NYU / Tisch, Columbia’s MFA theatre program, and Clubbed Thumb’s writers group. Natalie was awarded the 2016 Gatchell and Neufeld Manager Award and holds an MFA in Theatre Management & Producing from Columbia University.

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ERIC KUHN (Executive Producer) is multi-award winning theatrical producer based between London and New York. Recent productions on the West End include Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and The Unfriend (Criterion Theater). New York theater credits include Life of Pi, Shucked, This Beautiful Future (Cherry Lane theater), A Strange Loop (2022 Tony winner), Is This A Room, Dana H., The Inheritance (2020 Tony winner), Rogers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! (2019 Tony winner) and Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song.  Eric serves on the board of Lincoln Center Theater and SeriesFest, an award-winning festival dedicated to showcasing episodic storytelling from around the world. Eric’s background is in technology and media. He launched CNN and the NBA on social media and was the first agent in Hollywood to run social at United Talent Agency. Eric recently served as the Senior Vice President of CBS, running social media for the company. He was a co-founder in cable startup Layer3 TV, which sold to T-Mobile. Eric studied at Hamilton College and the London School of Economics but has learned the most by collaborating with passionate creatives.

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