Having influenced Off-Broadway and the theatre industry as a whole for the past 35 years, Darren Lee Cole has built his career around producing groundbreaking works, directing stellar performances, and teaching some of the world's finest actors.
Darren truly learned about theatre from the legendary John Houseman and has been inspired through him in his producing, acting, and directing. Darren has produced over 150 productions through Cole Theatricals in New York, Los Angeles, Sweden, Canada, England, Scotland, Costa Rica, and many other states and countries. Darren became Producing Artistic Director of the SoHo Playhouse in 2004 where has produced or directed an additional 50 groundbreaking works that have won many of Off-Broadway's most prominent theatre awards.
Darren also brought New York quality theatre to Costa Rica when he founded Teatro Jaco in 2010. In doing so, he has significantly impacted the country through a infusion of international culture and arts. In recent years, he has become an executive and artistic producer of the Fringe Encore Series, taking the best of the many Fringe Festivals across the world and encoring them through his Off-Broadway theatre or international tours.
Darren's love for theatre began at Redwood High School in Marin County California where he was student body president, starred in many of the student productions, and was introduced to directing and designing shows. After, he attended University of Southern California and was involved in the very selective theatre program from 1979 - 1981. He first went to Edinburgh with a group of USC students in 1980 including Forest Whitaker, Eric Stotlz, and Ally Sheedy. He performed in and designed several shows including the first ever stage version of the The Who's "Tommy". He also performed "Short Eyes" in the dayroom of the maximum security prison in Glasgow that summer.
NEW YORK AND INTERNATIONAL THEATRE
During the 1980's, he ran the Theatre Row Booking Office, where he managed rentals and programming for over 20 theatres on New York's famous 42nd Street, Theatre Row. He toured the country as a company manager and designer for the 1984 tour of "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicided when the Rainbow is Enough. Darren spent 1985 in Paris doing English speaking theatre, including "L'aticia" at L'espace Marais. He also taught workshops to thousands of students on the Mizner technique of acting. Throughout the 80's and 90's, Darren also worked as set designer, lighting designer, stage manager, production manager and general manager for dozens of Off Broadway Shows in New York City.
In 1990 founded Cole Theatricals, Inc. a theatre production company that would go on to produce and manage nearly 100 productions in New York, Los Angeles, Sweden, Canada, England and several states. Darren went to Chicago to manage The Chicago Center For The Performing Arts and The Mercury Theatre from 2000 - 2004. During his tenure, he produced and managed 15 productions all over Chicago Land.
Darren became Producing Artistic Director of SoHo Playhouse in 2004. Where he has produced and/or directed many groundbreaking works including, "Mindgame" with Keith Carradine and directed by Ken Russell, "Killer Joe" Tracy Lett's breakout hit, "The Emperor Jones" with award winning performances by John Douglas Thompson and produced "Triassic Parq".
Darren began going to Costa Rica in the early 2000's and felt a strong need to bring theatre and culture to a place like Costa Rica. Consequently, he founded Teatro Jaco in 2010. During his time there, has brought theatre arts and culture to the central pacific coast of Costa Rica. Has conducted numerous workshops and classes throughout the country. He opened the doors to the new facility and cultural center "Teatro Jaco" in December 2011. Teatro Jaco now currently hosts theatre companies from all over the world. In 2011, he founded the Fringe Encore Series which took the best performances from the Fringe Festivals around the world and brought them to his theatres in New York and Costa Rica.
Darren has heavily impacted and influenced theatre in New York and around the world for over 35 years where has worked with such luminaries as: Michael Shannon, Keith Carradine, Amanda Plummer, Michelle Williams, Scott Glenn, Adam Rapp, Ken Russell, John Douglas Thompson, Graciella Daniele, William Finn, Sarah Paulson, Marsha Mason, John Tillinger, Jules Fisher, Ally Sheedy, Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz, David Cromer, Sam Shepard and Charlton Heston.