Kirsten Brandt is an interdisciplinary artist and educator whose practice embraces inquiries into gender, science and politics. A theatrical director, playwright and advocate, her passion lies in igniting the imagination of audiences through visceral storytelling and visual poetry to encourage dialogue and ethical engagement.
For seven years, Brandt served as the Artistic Director of Sledgehammer Theatre, San Diego’s leading alternative theatre company. Under her leadership, the company experimented with theatrical form and non-linear storytelling through devised ensemble performances and re-interpretations of classics. The productions served as catalysis to bring social and political issues into the realm of public discourse and through this immediacy reflect on the human condition. At Sledgehammer, she forged a distinct directing style that continually investigates the balance between spoken text and theatrical movement.
As free-lance director, Brandt’s approach to her explorations encourages curiosity with her collaborators. She views each production – be it classical works such as Greek drama, Shakespeare and Ibsen or new plays and musicals – as an opportunity to understand the universality of our experiences, our commonalities and to widen our perspectives.
Since 1999, with her feminist and biotechnology-fueled adaptation of Frankenstein called The Frankenstein Project, Brandt has explored the intersection of projected media and live performance which garnered her a grant from the NEA to continue those investigations with The Frankenstein Project 2.0. Her explorations into telematics with The Thinning Veil and installation, interactive performance art with Thirsting for Salt have lead her to examine the phenomenology of digital media and performance technologies and our relationship to it.
Brandt makes her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, on the outskirts of Silicon Valley, with her daughter, husband, two dogs and cat. She is adjunct faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz and San Jose State University.