Zak Berkman

Plays written by Zak Berkman



Zak is the Producing Director at People’s Light in Malvern, Pennsylvania. He is a playwright, director, dramaturg, and former soap opera writer with twenty years of experience producing theatre and developing new plays. Zak’s full-length plays include The Harassment of Iris Malloy, Beauty on the Vine, and A Breath Short of Breathing. Finalist for the National New Play Network’s Smith Prize, The Harassment of Iris Malloy, will receive its world premiere at People’s Light in June 2016, followed by a production at Detroit Public Theatre in Spring 2017. The play was developed at the 2016 Alley All New Festival along with previous readings at The Public Theatre, The Lark Play Development Center, Next Theatre in Chicago, and Epic Theatre Ensemble. Beauty on the Vine received productions Off-Broadway (directed by David Schweizer, starring Olivia Wilde and David Strathairn) and in Chicago. It was optioned by Dirty Rice Pictures to be turned into a film, and has been published by Dramatist Play Service. A Breath Short of Breathing was produced by Epic Theatre Ensemble (starring Daniel Sunjata) after being developed as part of New York Stage & Film and Soho Rep summer festivals. Zak is currently collaborating with Stuart Carden, Jessica Fisher, and Mary Tuomanen on a female-focused music theatre piece based on the source material for Dracula. It is slated for production at People’s Light in Fall 2018. Zak was also a script writer for Days Of Our Lives.

Zak became Producing Director at People’s Light in 2013 after joining the company in 2011 as Associate Artistic Director. Previously, he was Associate to Broadway producer, Margo Lion, and the Founding Executive Director of Artistic Programming with Epic Theatre Ensemble in New York City. During his ten years of leadership, Epic gained a distinguished reputation for developing new work in tandem with cultivating diverse, new audiences. An OBIE, Drama League, Lucille Lortel, and Amnesty International Award-Winning company, Epic’s Off-Broadway premieres included Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play, No Child… by Nilaja Sun, Palace of the End by Judith Thompson, and Kate Fodor’s Hannah and Martin. At People’s Light, Zak is part of the executive leadership team with Artistic Director/CEO Abigail Adams and General Manager/CFO Ellen Anderson. He leads season planning at the Theatre as well as all new play programs. This includes the New Play Frontiers Residency & Commission program, which he writes about in a series for

Zak is a graduate of Oberlin College. He is married to Teri Lamm. They have two sons, Eliot and Theo.