Guest Artist Spotlight: Courtney Sale


Courtney Sale is no stranger to The University of Texas at Austin. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Directing from the Department of Theatre and Dance and has taught at the university. This April she will be returning as a guest artist for the Cohen New Works Festival.

Sale is the Artistic Director for the Seattle Children’s Theatre in Seattle, Washington where she is currently planning the 2017 – 2018 season for the Seattle Children’s Theatre, which includes two world premieres. Sale is also working on two new commissions for the theatre, which include an adaptation of Black Beauty by James Still and a new piece about Jimi Hendrix’s boyhood by Idris Goodwin.

When asked what kind of new work excited her, Sale said:

“when [work] functions like the gull wing doors on a DeLorean and opens [her] mind and heart in ways [she] didn’t know possible. When it asks [her] not to figure it out too soon, [or] when it screams at [her] that there is nothing to figure out here. When it tells [her] secrets that are only for [her]. When it is built laterally from a collaboration of very different sensibilities, [and] when it is kind.”

Sale has developed new work for festivals and theaters, including the Denver Center Theatre Company’s Summit New Play Festival, The New Harmony Project, The Orchard Project and more. She has also collaborated with Katie Bender, Steven Dietz, Allison Gregory, Kirk Lynn and others.

When asked what planted the seed in her to pursue a life in theatre, Sale shared with us that she didn’t have much access to an art community growing up, but it didn’t stop her from imagining, creating and becoming the theatre professional she is today.

“I grow up in rural Virginia with limited access to professional arts,” shared Sale. “I spent my shoe-free summers making up stories in the woods behind my house. Acorns, twigs, and blades of grass became characters. It was the space I felt the freest, the most liberated, the most engaged. Day dreaming and stories always occupied my alone time. The joy of getting lost in a creative pursuit was how I spent my summer vacations.”