Nataki Garrett is an innovative leader and dynamic theatrical professional. For more than 20 years, she has worked as a theater administrator, director, producer, playwright, educator, activist and mentor. Garrett is passionate about the development of new work and the ability of theater to reveal our deepest empathy and our brightest joy while reminding us of the human spirit.
Garrett is a world-class director having worked at Dallas Theater Center, CalShakes, Ford's Theater, Steppenwolf, Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theater Company, Woolly Mammoth, Mixed-Blood Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Philadelphia Theater Company, and Baltimore Center Stage. She has worked internationally at The Rockefeller Bellagio Study and Research Center in Italy, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and LeLabo Theater in Paris. She also traveled to Rwanda and Uganda as an Artistic Ambassador for the purpose of creating authentic artistic connections.
Garrett is an accomplished arts administrator having served as the former Associate Artistic Director of Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theater Company (DCPA). During her tenure, she initiated and negotiated the first co-world premieres in 10 years for two DCPA commissioned plays – The Great Leap with Seattle Rep and American Mariachi with the Old Globe Theatre.
Garrett also served as Acting Artistic Director during the organization’s 18-month leadership transition. Her 2017-18 DCPA season was fully inclusive and adventurous, representing a broad-ranging view of the human condition. The season included a visceral reimagining of Shakespeare's Macbeth directed by Playwright and Director Robert O’Hara and was one of the most financially successful and well-attended season in the 40 year history of the company.
Prior to the DCPA, Garrett was the Associate Artistic Director of CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP) and the former Associate Dean and Head of Undergraduate Acting at CalArts School of Theater. At California Institute of the Arts, Garrett managed a $10 million budget and oversaw all operations of conservatory training. Garrett produced over 150 mainstage, black box, developmental projects, plays, co-productions and touring productions.
As a producer, Garrett’s forte and passion is fostering and developing new work. She is responsible for producing the world premieres of Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson, Two Degrees by Tina Palmquist, Zoe’s Perfect Wedding by Mathew Lopez, The Great Leap by Lauren Yee, and American Mariachi by Jose Cruz-Gonzalez. She also directed the world premieres of Pussy Valley by Katori Hall, Jefferson’s Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker, and BLKS by Aziza Barnes. She is well known for her work with MacArthur Award-winning Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins having directed the regional premieres of several of his plays including Everybody at California Shakespeare Theater and An Octoroon at Woolly Mammoth. Garrett also directed the first professional production of Jenkins’ acclaimed play Neighbors. Garrett’s production received five Ovation Award nominations--including Best Production. She is currently developing and directing How to Catch Creation by Christina Anderson--which will serve as her Oregon Shakespeare Festival directorial debut.
As the co-founder and co-Artistic Director of BLANK THE DOG PRODUCTIONS, Garrett is celebrating 11 years of devising new work Her most recent production, Carolyn Bryant Project was supported by a MAPFUND grant and premiered at REDCAT in May 2018. Carolyn Bryant Project was featured on the National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” in an interview by Karen Grisby Bates.
Garrett is a member of the Board of Directors for Theater Communications Group, a company member at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and an Advisory Board Member for Mixed Blood Theater. She also serves on the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust Playwriting Award nominating committee.
Garrett is is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts and Theater Communications Group Career Development Fellowship for Directors and a member of Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. She is a graduate of graduate of California Institute of the Arts with a MFA in directing.