John Clinton Eisner is Lark’s Artistic Director and is primarily responsible for Lark’s vision. He co-founded the Lark in 1994 as a community of theater professionals with a shared commitment to new play development.
He divides his time between working directly with playwrights and creating strategies with artistic leaders in the U.S. and abroad to advance new plays into the repertoire, and to foster wider community conversation about the role of theater in the 21st Century. Currently, he is spearheading a project funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to encourage multiple productions of new works by unheard voices that bring institutional decision-makers together with playwrights for intimate, sustained discussions about art and society.
Recently, he has taught workshops on the creative process and playwriting at the University of Iowa, the University of Southern California, at Centro Cultural Helénico in Mexico City, the University of Guadalajara, and Odeon Theatre in Bucharest. Previously, he co-founded Westerly Shakespeare in the Park, a free outdoor Shakespeare festival now in its 20th season in New England where it serves thousands of attendees annually and served as Associate Artistic Director and Interim Managing Director of the Colonial Theatre.
He has worked at Johnson-Liff Casting Agency (Broadway productions of Piaf, Amadeus, Rose, The Dresser, Cats, and television’s Shoah), several talent agencies, a Broadway box office, and in play development programs including the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference and the US West Prima Facie Festival. As director, actor or teacher, he has worked with the Denver Center Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Kennedy Center, National Playwrights Conference and National Theatre of the Deaf, among others. He is active as a consultant and currently sits on the Stavis Playwright Award Committee (Chair), the advisory boards of TheatreForum and Transport Group, and the National Theatre Conference, among others.
Eisner holds an MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory and a BA in Dramatic Arts and Literature from Amherst College.