Samuel Buggeln headshot

Sam is the founding Artistic Director of The Cherry Arts, as well as an award-winning theater translator and one of the US’s preeminent directors of new international plays. 

Founded in 2014, the Cherry is a multi-arts hub in Ithaca New York that programs a performance space, an art gallery, and a studio. The Cherry’s central creative focus is new works of theater that are “radically local, radically global, and formally innovative”. On the global front, the Cherry has produced over a dozen English-language premières of contemporary plays from Argentina, Belgium, El Salvador, France, Germany, Mexico, Québec, Serbia, and more. On the “local” front, the Cherry has commissioned numerous innovative new works from Ithaca-based creators, some of which have gone on to showings in Europe including a public reading at the National Theater, London. 

Over a decade in NYC, Sam regularly developed new plays at the Lark Play Development Center, and was a long-time Artistic Associate with the Obie-winning New Ohio Theatre. Productions at the Ohio include Cressida Among the Greeks (Drama Desk nomination) and Hater, his unconventional translation of Le Misanthrope, which has since received multiple productions around the US. At the Ohio he also directed his own adaptations of Queneau’s Le Vol D’Icare (The Flight of Icarus) and Duras’ Les Yeux Bleus Cheveux Noirs (Blue Eyes Black Hair), as well as the Off-Broadway premiere of Rum & Vodka by Conor McPherson and the world première of the Bulgarian play The Eyes of Others.

Sam’s translation of the French play George Kaplan was produced at the Cherry and subsequently by the Bridge Project in NYC, and his translations of Molière and Marivaux have been published in The Mercurian, as was his co-translation of Rafael Spregelburd’s Todo. He has co-translated five plays by Argentine playwright Santiago Loza, which were published by Seagull Books in a volume that received the honorable mention for books of theater translation from the American Society for Theater Research. One of these plays (Winter Animals) also appeared in the Global Queer Plays festival at London’s Arcola Theater and was published in the Oberon Books anthology of the same name. As a director, Sam has developed translations of new Bulgarian plays both in NYC (HotINK at the Lark) and in Sofia (Red Room). His adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey, created for a co-production with the Hangar Theatre, is forthcoming from YouthPLAYS.

Other new works developed and directed in New York include Bedbugs!!!, a sci-fi musical starring Tony Award-winner Lena Hall (recipient of five NYMF jury awards) and Go-Go Kitty, GO! (Lucille Lortel Theater as part of FringeNYC — Best Play FringeFirst award from among 200 shows). Other NYC work has appeared at the Atlantic, Rattlestick, Hypothetical, New York Theatre Workshop, Theater for the New City, HERE, Charas/El Bohio, Expanded Arts, and Clubbed Thumb.

Regional work includes more than twenty full productions at companies including the Hangar and Kitchen theaters (Ithaca), Capital Rep (Albany), Mason Street Warehouse (Michigan), StageWorks (Hudson), and nine productions at Portland Stage in Maine.

Buggeln has received grants from the Peg Sandtvoord Foundation, the Dramatists’ Guild, Community Arts Partnership, and NYSCA, is an alumnus of the Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab, and was a guest artist with New York Theatre Workshop’s summer residency at Dartmouth College. He has been a faculty guest director and instructor at Cornell University, Ithaca College, SUNY Albany, Hunter College, and the NYU-Tisch School of the Arts. He is a member of the international artists’ network The Fence, and the chair of the English Language Committee of the European new play exchange network Eurodram.

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