Artistic Director

A member of EST since 1978, William Carden has served as Artistic Director of The Ensemble Studio Theatre since 2007. The two key priorities he has outlined for the theatre are re-energizing the artistic life of its membership and strengthening EST’s commitment to developing new work by producing more full-length plays. In his three seasons at EST he has directed the EST/Sloan production of Lucy by Damien Atkins, Tommy Smith’s PTSD in the 2009 Marathon and 2010’s Lenin’s Embalmers by Vern Thiessen.

Prior to working at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, William Carden was the Artistic Director of the HB Playwrights Foundation and Theatre from 1994 to 2006, where he was responsible for the day to day operations and developing programming.  At HB he directed Mrs. Klein by Nicholas Wright starring Uta Hagen. It went onto a commercial run Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre followed by a National tour which included San Francisco, Chicago and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. After Mrs. Klein he directed Collected Stories by Donald Margulies with Uta Hagen, which after opening at HB also transferred to the Lucille Lortel for another extended Off-Broadway run. It subsequently played at the Stratford Festival in Canada and the Bronfman Center for the Arts in Montreal. His many other productions at HB include Horton Foote’s The Habitation of Dragons and Voir Dire by Joe Sutton. In the fall of 1995 he brought together a select group of established playwrights and formed the HB Playwrights Unit and in the spring of 1997 produced their first short play festival The Motel Plays. That began what became for the next ten years an annual event, with a new location each year and publication of the plays by Smith and Kraus. This series ended with the opening of The White House Plays in 2005.

Off-Broadway, he directed James Ryan’s The Young Girl and the Monsoon at Playwrights Horizons as well as The Dew Point by Neena Beber and one-act plays for The Marathon at the Ensemble Studio Theatre. He also directed Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Stratford Festival in Canada. As an actor he has played leading roles Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Circle Rep, WPA, Ensemble Studio Theatre and Phoenix Theatre and he has also worked at numerous regional theatres.  On Broadway, he created the title role in the original, award winning production of Short Eyes. He has been seen in a variety of television shows, the most recent being "Law & Order."

He currently teaches at Rutgers University Mason Gross School for the Arts MFA Directing and Acting Programs. In addition, he previously taught at Boston University, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, Playwrights Horizons and EST’s Institute for Professional Training. Over the years as a member of EST he has directed or acted in over 100 readings & workshops for development of new plays.