Vice President of Performing and Visual Arts (PAVA)
Performing and Visual Arts — Programming
Additional Contact Information
P.O. Box 28 | One Ames Avenue
Chautauqua, N.Y. 14722
Laura Savia stepped into the role of Vice President of Performing and Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution in March 2022 and is thrilled to be a part of this incredible team. Laura is an accomplished artistic leader who has served in key roles at world class arts institutions for the past sixteen years. Most recently, she served as associate artistic director of the Tony Award-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF), where she spent more than a decade. At WTF, She played a major role in programming, producing, and casting the Festival’s seven-show seasons and slates of special events including concerts and comedy. She was instrumental in the Festival’s shift to producing primarily world premieres, many of which transferred to Broadway and off-Broadway stages each year, cementing WTF as what The New York Times called, “a theatrical powerhouse.” Highlights include Bess Wohl’s Grand Horizons, Adam Rapp’s The Sound Inside, and Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living, which won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. At WTF, Laura created and ran COMMUNITY WORKS, the Festival’s radically inclusive, year-round community engagement initiative in Western Massachusetts, working closely with long-time collaborator Lucy Thurber. She oversaw the Festival’s literary operations, nurturing several dozen commissions by playwrights and composers including Halley Feiffer, Justin Levine, Harrison David Rivers, and James Anthony Tyler. Also under her purview were the Festival’s renowned training programs. Laura served as a liaison for partnerships and collaborations with organizations such as Forest of Arden, Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Amazon’s Audbile.com. Prior to WTF, Laura served on the artistic staff of Atlantic Theater Company for five years, during a time of significant growth, a major capital campaign, and the transfers of multiple productions to Broadway, including Spring Awakening, which garnered eight Tony Awards. As a director, Laura has helmed dozens of new plays and musicals including many centering BIPOC and LGBTQ+ stories. Laura’s production of Jonathan Caren’s The Recommendation (IAMA Theatre Company) won an Ovation Award for Best Production, and her production of Shakina Nayfack’s Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club (WTF and Audible) won a Drama League Award for Outstanding Audio Theatre Production. Her staging of Ryan J. Haddad’s Hi, Are You Single? has been seen at the Public Theater, the Guthrie, and Woolly Mammoth. Laura is also a passionate educator, having taught acting and directing at New York University/Strasberg Institute, Fordham University, and The New School. She began her career as a teaching artist and an assistant director, most notably to Daniel Sullivan on productions for The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park and on Broadway, starring luminaries including Anne Hathaway and Al Pacino. Laura is an alum of The Drama League Directors Project and graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University.
Why did you choose to work at Chautauqua? What do you like about working at Chautauqua?
What I love most about Chautauqua Institution is its diversity of programs and offerings, and how the place nourishes the whole human.
Travel, hiking, trying new foods, playing with my daughter Zoë.