Get to Know Travis Preston of the CalArts Center for New Performance

Welcome to, a website where Travis Preston will discuss information relevant to his career, past theater performances he has enjoyed, and insights he has accumulated over his years spent in the space.

Travis Preston speaks to how the theatre landscape is filled with learning opportunities that empower members of its community to hone their craft, gain new insights, and push the boundaries of performance arts. It is Travis’s goal through this website to act as a resource for individuals who would like to learn more about performance arts either for personal or professional reasons.

About Travis Preston of CalArts

Travis Preston is a director, educator, and arts administrator who has built a reputation in the theatre community around his immense understanding of performance arts. Travis was born in 1959 in East Chicago, Indiana and connected with his passion for theatre while attending the University of Indiana to receive his PH. D in psychology.

Travis Preston would go on to attend Yale School of Drama to earn his MFA in Directing which gave him the knowledge, skills, experience, and inspiration to direct acclaimed works. Preston would further his career working with acclaimed producer, critic, educator, and playwright Robert Brustein to found Harvard’s American Repertory Theatre, where he served as Associate Artist for a decade. During this time, Travis Preston Directed a wide variety of modern classic plays. Travis Preston soon became an educator at universities around the world including Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, the National Theater School of Denmark, Harvard University, Indiana University, New York University, and Colombia School of the Arts. Travis became known for his innovative approach to teaching and ability to help his students polish their skills and find their niche within the theatre scene.

Travis Preston drew from his experience as a director and arts educator to become the Artistic Director of the CalArts Center for New Performance in 2005. In 2010, Travis became the Dean of CalArts School of Theatre. During his tenure as the Artistic Director of the CalArts Center for New Performance and the Dean of the CalArts School of Theater, Travis Preston has directed some of the best theater and opera performances around the globe. In addition to this, his position has also allowed him to collaborate with some of the best actors, directors, orchestras, and theater professionals that his industry has to offer. Recently, Preston was knighted in France, receiving the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture for “contributions to the arts in France and throughout the world.” This award came in response to some of Preston’s greatest directorial achievements.

Notable Directorial Work

While Travis Preston was at CalArts, he directed:

  • Fantômas: Revenge of the Image at the Wuzhen Theatre Festival in China (World Premiere)
  • Prometheus Bound at the Getty Villa, from a world-premiere translation by Joel Agee
  • Macbeth with Stephen Dillane at REDCAT, the Almeida Theatre, and the Adelaide Festival
  • Boris Godunov by Musursky at the Hamburg State Opera
  • The Master Builder with Gemma Arterton and Stephen Dillane at the Almeida Theatre
  • Al Gran Sole Carico d’Amore by Luigi Nono at the Hamburg State Opera
  • The World Premiere of Democracy in America at the Yale Repertory Theater
  • The World Premiere of Ted Tally’s Terra Nova at the Yale Repertory Theater
  • The American Premiere of Roberto Zucco by Bernard-Marie Koltès.
  • The World Premiere of The Last American in Paris
  • And Many Other Award-Winning Plays

Travis Preston of CalArts cites the community that theater fosters as one of the most enjoyable aspects of the space, as it allows people to work with a diverse crowd with a range of talents to offer to a production. The ability to work with so many different talents ensures that the work never gets old, and even the most seasoned veterans of the industry have something they can learn something from new talent and vice versa. One of the most fulfilling aspects of directing these plays for Travis Preston has been the opportunity to share knowledge with young actors and directors and help them bring these amazing stories to life. It is why Travis Preston has not only taught at CalArts, but at many different universities and theater training programs all over the world.

Schools and Training Programs include:

  • The Yale School of Drama
  • Columbia School of the Arts
  • New York University
  • The National Theater School of Denmark
  • Indiana University
  • Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts
  • Harvard University

More from Travis Preston

Travis Preston acknowledges that the time he has spent honing his craft has positioned him as a resource for the theater community, and he is always willing to share information on constants within the space as well as personal anecdotes that include what he has discovered since he started his career years ago. Now, more than ever, members of the theater community have emphasized the importance of showing support and finding ways to enrich each other’s passion for the arts. To Travis, contributing to key conversations within his area of expertise is one of the most impactful methods for helping others connect with the arts.

On this website, readers can not only gather information on the history of an incredible career but can look for fresh blog posts offering insights from one of the greatest minds in theater and opera directing today. The world of theater remains strikingly like how it was when Travis Preston first became enamored with the scene, but he acknowledges that there are many things that have contributed to its evolution over time. One of which is that members of the community have never been shy about seeking out improvement and sharing what they know to see others succeed as well. This drive for growing within the arts is what keeps theater great, and Travis Preston is honored to be a part of such a rich tradition. Thank you for visiting Travis Preston CalArts and be sure to check back often for more information in the realm of theater!