Producing Artistic Director
(802) 296-7000 ext. 110
Carol is thrilled to lead Northern Stage for her seventh season as Producing Artistic Director. She brings a wealth of experience from her former position as Producing Artistic Director of the New London Barn Playhouse, a company she transformed from a semi-professional summer stock theater to one of the most successful summer theaters in New England, which serves as an important training ground for top musical theater students. Dunne also serves as an award winning Senior Lecturer at Dartmouth College.
Since 2013, Dunne and her team have overseen the $9.2 million Campaign for Northern Stage, which culminated in the opening of the theater’s new home, the state-of-the-art Barrette Center for the Arts. During Carol’s tenure, she has introduced the development of new plays to the Northern Stage repertoire with New Works Now, Northern Stage’s annual new play festival. New Works Now has launched five world premiers and two Off-Broadway transfers. Dunne has also overseen the creation of an expansive educational program including the “Youth Ensemble Studio” of 40 students who train and perform at Northern Stage throughout the school year and “BridgeUP: Shakespeare and Musical Theater in the Schools” that brings professional residencies into area schools and serves over 500 school children each year. She has developed a formal relationship with Dartmouth College through the Experiential Term for Dartmouth students, which provides students with professional experiences in performance, administration, and production both at Northern Stage and Off-Broadway. Carol and her team have expanded Northern Stage programming to a year round calendar with the sold out Summer Musical Theater Intensive and the new Summer Shakespeare Intensive. Audiences have grown by 25%, and a new membership model is helping to stabilize and sustain the company.
At Northern Stage, Dunne has directed productions of The Importance of Being Earnest, White Christmas, Good People, Into the Woods, Songs for a New World, Our Town, The Mountaintop, the world premier of Trick or Treat by Jack Neary, the record breaking Mamma Mia, Disgraced, Only Yesterday — a world premier about John Lennon and Paul McCartney developed by Northern Stage — Dear Elizabeth, and Once. This season she will direct Million Dollar Quartet.
As an actress Carol was a company member of the Cleveland Play House for 10 years, where she played such roles as Daisy in Side Show and Rose of Sharon in The Grapes of Wrath. She performed for many years at Northern Stage prior to becoming Artistic Director, appearing as Grizabella in Cats, Agnes in Dancing at Lughnasa, Woman 2 in Songs for a New World, Diana in Lend Me A Tenor, and Amanda in Private Lives.
Dunne has served on the Faculty of Dartmouth College as a Senior Lecturer since 2005 where she has directed Hair, The Rocky Horror Show, Angels in America, Eurydice, Hairspray, and Chicago. She has also served on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University and Baldwin Wallace College. She was honored by Dartmouth in 2009 with the Distinguished Lecturer award. In 2017 Carol was granted the Helen Gurley Brown Foundation Genius Award. With the Helen Gurley Brown Foundation, she created and serves as director of the BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle, a $1.25 million annual grant program to nurture women artistic directors in the professional theater. Other awards are the Leadership Upper Valley’s Heroes and Leaders: Mentors award (2016) and the New Hampshire Professional Theater Award for Best Director of a Musical for Pirates of Penzance (2010.) Carol is a graduate of Princeton University and received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee PTTP. She lives in Etna, NH with husband Peter Hackett and children Ellie and Jamie.
Carol’s leadership is underwritten by the BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle, an initiative to support and promote women’s theater leadership funded by the Helen Gurley Brown Foundation.