Helmer Matt Shakman Joins Geffen Playhouse as Artistic Director

Courtesy of Geffen Playhouse
Matt Shakman

"It’s a dream come true to join such a vibrant cultural institution," he said of the theater.

Matt Shakman is moving from Westeros to Westwood.

The accomplished theater, film and TV director — fresh off helming two episodes of Game of Thrones'  high-profile seventh season ("Eastwatch" and "The Spoils of War") — has just been named artistic director of the Geffen Playhouse, the theater's board of directors announced Monday. In the new role, Shakman will work alongside the Geffen’s executive director Gil Cates, Jr. in steering the creative ship.

According to a release, that means helping "stage new work and revivals of classic plays with a focus on exceptional storytelling and audience experience." Shakman will join the Geffen on Sept. 20 to begin work on the 2018/2019 season.

Cates noted that he's "delighted" to welcome Shakman into the Geffen fold, adding, “His passion for extraordinary storytelling, his strong relationships with artists in theater, film and television, and his commitment to fostering community will be immensely valuable as we continue to advance the mission of the theater.”

In a statement, Shakman said working for the Geffen in this capacity is a "dream come true." “As a long-standing admirer of the Geffen — both for the high-quality work that it produces and for the amazing community it has cultivated with audiences and artists alike — I am thrilled to take on the exciting opportunity of growing the reach of the theater and nurturing the inclusive values that are so essential to its success," he said. 

Shakman is no stranger to the Geffen Playhouse. In 2012, he directed the West Coast premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Tony Award-nominated Good People, followed by Jeffrey Hatcher’s world-premiere adaptation of Frederick Knott’s Wait Until Dark in 2013. Most recently, he directed the Geffen’s production of Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews.

Even with the theater gig, Shakman will continue to direct for TV and film. He is a helmer and producer for FX’s long-running comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and has also worked on The Good Wife, Fargo and Mad Men. Shakman founded Los Angeles’ Black Dahlia Theatre and served as its artistic director from its inception in 2001. Among his awards and distinctions, Shakman was awarded the Milton Katselas Award for Career Achievement in Direction by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle in 2011.