Since 2008 he has been working internationally in Germany, the UK, Ireland, Canada, and the Czech Republic. He recently made his German language directing premiere at Theater Bielefeld. He has also created work in New York City at The Public Theater, PS122, The Culture Project, HERE Arts Center, Ars Nova, The Bushwick Starr, The Brick, 59E59, 3LD and Dixon Place. He has directed productions regionally at the American Repetory Theater, in Cambridge, MA, Chicago and Cleveland, and was a guest artist at Wesleyan University in 2011. He has developed and directed new plays at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, the Lark and New York Theater Workshop. His recent work includes the world premiere of Petr Kotik’s opera Mistrovská díla at the Jiří Myron Theatre in Ostrava, Czech Republic and a digital media project Temping, an interactive installation about office culture. He is currently developing a dance/video/theater piece based on Edweard Muybrige’s photography, and and through the support of the Likachev Foundation, he is devising a theater project based on Mikhail Lomonosov’s work and biography.
He is the artistic director and co-founder of Wolf 359, with playwright Michael Yates Crowley. As a theater company they have been working together since 1998 and their production of Righteous Money has been on tour since 2009 and has visited Berlin, Dublin, Edinburgh, three small cities in Germany, and had two runs in New York City. Their production of The Ted Haggard Monologues was awarded the undergroundzero prize for Artistic Excellence, selected by New York Magazine as a “Critics Pick” and filmed by HBO.
Outside of his company, his devised work includes the games we used to play, which he co-created with Max Goldblatt, took first place at Les Fêtes théâtrales du Suroît in 2005, and Absent with Jeremy Paul which used the entire span of the Detroit-Superior Bridge in downtown Cleveland. His production of Four Saints in Three Acts was selected as a noteworthy production of the 2008 Opera America Director/Designer Showcase. His production of The Great God Brown was exhibited as part of the 2011 Prague Quadrennial.
Michael Rau is a recent recipient of a fellowship from the Likachev foundation as well as an 2014 artist-in-residence at E|MERGE. He received the Willard Fellowship from Columbia University (2007). He also received the 2006 Kennedy Center Directing Fellowship, a 2007 New Play Network Directing Fellowship and a 2008 TCG National Conference Grant. He was an Artist-in-Residence at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center for three years, and has taught at New York University, Wesleyan University and Columbia University. In 2014, he developed the curriculum and led the Kennedy Center Directing Intensive on New Play Development and has created the Snow Camp Directing Workshop at the Strand Theater in Baltimore, MD.
He has served as an assistant for John Turturro at Classic Stage Company, Francesca Zambello at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Robert Woodruff at San Francisco Opera. He was selected as Young Artist Program for The Glimmerglass Festival where he assisted Anne Bogart on her production of Carmen, as well as Leon Major’s production of Later the Same Evening, and Francesca Zambello on the world premiere of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s opera Blizzard on Marbleheadneck He has served as an associate director for Francesca Zambello’s critically acclaimed production of Showboat and Aida. He is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and a graduate of Wesleyan University and received his MFA in Theater Directing from Columbia University.