Mara Isaacs is a creative producer and the founder and director of Octopus Theatricals. With over twenty years of producing experience at flagship theaters in the United States, Mara is recognized as a field leader in new play and new musical development and production as well as non-profit organizational leadership. She began her professional career at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, where she produced new play development programs and productions from 1990-1995. In 1995, Mara joined the McCarter Theatre Center staff, first as Resident Producer and then as Producing Director. For eighteen seasons, she produced McCarter’s theater series and play development programs including numerous commissions and productions of new plays and musicals (by Christopher Durang, Edward Albee, Athol Fugard, Regina Taylor, Nilo Cruz, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Eric Bogosian, Danai Gurira, Sarah Treem, Will Power and others) and transfers to Broadway (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Translations, Anna in the Tropics, Electra) and off-Broadway (The Brother/Sister Plays, Miss Witherspoon, Crowns), to theaters around the country (Goodman Theatre, Center Theatre Group, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Rep and others) and internationally (South Africa’s Market Theatre). She has collaborated with many directors on new and classic works, including Mary Zimmerman, Des McAnuff, Sam Buntrock, Rebecca Taichman, Lisa Peterson, Emily Mann, Stephen Wadsworth, Gary Griffin, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Mark Lamos, Nicholas Martin, Tina Landau, Garry Hynes, John Doyle and many others.
Seven of the plays Mara has developed and produced have appeared a total of ten times on American Theatre Magazine’s annual “Top 10 List of Most Frequently Produced Plays,” and productions she has produced for McCarter have gone on to receive fifteen Tony Award nominations and one Tony Award for Best Play (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike). Freelance credits include The Laramie Project (off-Broadway) and the inaugural production of the Evidence Room theater company (Los Angeles).
On the international front, Mara was a resident artist at the Rhodopi International Theatre Lab in Smolyan, Bulgaria, and she is a two-time recipient of international collaboration travel grants from TCG/International Theatre Institute to Argentina and Russia. Mara has joined professional delegations to Cuba, China, Colombia, Poland, Israel and South Africa. Those delegations have led to additional collaborations, including Global Crossings (working title), a work-in-progress featuring the work of Israeli, American, Palestinian and South African artists.