Portrait: Kirsten Brandt

By Lydia Row

Join the College of Humanities and the Arts in welcoming Kirsten Brandt, Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre, to the Department of Film and Theatre. Kirsten is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice embraces inquiries into gender, technology, and politics. Kirsten also has a long history as an educator, including classes taught in musical theatre, directing, playwriting, acting, experimental theatre, women in theatre, Walt Disney, and Shakespeare—just to name a few.

Kirsten earned her undergraduate degree in Theatre from UC San Diego, which included her completion of the Education Abroad Program in Birmingham, England. Afterwards, Kirsten earned her M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College in Port Townsend, focusing on topics such as gender in performance, performative technologies, and environmental justice. For seven years, Kirsten served as Executive Artistic Director of the Sledgehammer Theatre—San Diego’s leading alternative theatre—where she produced 25 performances, 11 of which were world premieres. 

Kirsten later served as Associate Artistic Director of the San Jose Repertory Theatre where she directed Rabbit Hole, Groundswell, The Big Meal, Legacy of Light, Splitting Infinity, Doctor Faustus, Next Fall, and many other performances. While at the Repertory, Kirsten also co-wrote The Snow Queen, which is a rock musical with ongoing national and international productions. In memory of her time there, she says, “I first worked with students at SJSU when I was the Associate Artistic Director at the San Jose Repertory. The students at SJSU are eager, adventurous, and possess great intellectual curiosity. I am thrilled to continue learning from them.”

In addition, Kirsten says that she looks forward to the “unique and inviting opportunity that SJSU provides to continue my research and artistic practice with an interdisciplinary approach to theatre and musical theatre.” As an award-winning theatrical director, playwright, and producer with over 20 years of experience, her passions lie in creating an intersection between live performance and digital media and in igniting the imagination of audiences through visceral storytelling and visual poetry that encourage dialogue and ethical engagement. To find out more about Kirsten’s work, please visit her website at: www.kirstenbrandt.com.

Welcome to SJSU, Kirsten!