Meet The Players


We’re undergoing a growth spurt in our company’s leadership. Stay tuned for more updates, and in the meantime, learn about our Founder!

Sarah Eismann (Founder), a native Jersey girl, recently received her MFA in Acting from Columbia University School of the Arts. Sarah_Eismann_12th-Night_1She got her BFA in Drama at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where she attended the Playwrights Horizons Theatre School studio. She has also worked with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London in their Shakespeare in Performance course, the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver in their Summer Intensive,  Teatr Pieśń Kozła in Wrocław, Poland in their Acting Techniques workshop, and Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA in their month long Shakespeare Intensive.

Sarah is the Founder and Artistic Director of Manhattan Shakes. Sarah_Eismann_12th-Night_2 Since its inception, Sarah has worn many hats in this growing grass-roots company. She is in charge of curriculum development, and overseeing all aspects of productions. She has conceived and produced (and performed in) three seasons of Free Shakespeare in the ParkS (a 90min all female Shakespeare production performed free to communities around the five boroughs of New York City), an annual Emerging Female Voices Playwrights’ Fest (seven nights of one acts by 21 up and coming female playwrights from around the country directed by 21 NY female directors), the Free Educational Tour: Shakespeare’s Scholars (a one hour all female production that tours free to schools in NY and NJ with pre-show workshops which supplement the English and Theatre Arts curriculum for New York schools and actively engages the students in the works of Shakespeare), The Palestine Project (an International Outreach program designed to facilitate bridging the gap across culturally diverse communities) and the New Works Project (an original fully realized production of an emerging female playwright produced in an off-Broadway venue). Sarah also established and runs the educational outreach program designed to bring Shakespeare to underserved schools and communities. She is a collaborator with many art organizations and individual artists whose mission and core values are in line with those of Manhattan Shakes.

Sarah_Eismann_12th-Night_3Sarah has also been performing professionally and teaching for over 20 years. After graduating from NYU, she moved from New York and lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota doing mostly children’s theatre. Among others, she had the pleasure of working with the 2003 Tony award-winning Children’s Theatre Company for a season. She then moved out to California and worked as a performer / teaching artist for two seasons with California Theatre Center, and two seasons with The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. She also had the opportunity to work with the California Shakespeare Theatre, Center Rep, Woman’s Will, Pear Avenue Theatre, The Western Stage and several long and short form improv troupes.

As a teaching artist, Sarah has taught and directed at the elementary, Sarah_Eismann_12th-Night_4middle and high school levels: improvisation, voice, movement, acting, and all aspects of Shakespeare. Sarah was an adjunct faculty member at Solano Community College in Fairfield, California where she completely redesigned their Youth Theatre program. She has experience working across disciplines and art forms and has worked closely with classroom teachers. Among others she has taught with Classic Stage Company, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, and Summer Theatre Institute (New York), California Shakespeare Theatre, Solano Youth Theatre, Marin Shakespeare Company, CLAP Arts, New Conservatory Theatre Center, Kids on Camera, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Peninsula Youth Theatre, Children’s Musical Theatre San Jose, and California Theatre Center.

Sarah_Eismann_12th-Night_5Now back in New York, Sarah has worked with internationally renowned teachers and directors Kristin Linklater, Andrei Serban, Niky and Ulla Wolcz, Gregory Mosher, Larry Singer, Anne Bogart, John Erman, and Kim Weild, just to name a few. She has studied Linklater Voice Technique, Shakespeare Text and Performance, Biomechanics, Meyerhold, Viewpoints, Film, the Greeks, the Absurdists, and Chekhov, as well as classical and contemporary American playwrights and theatre.

Sarah’s artistic philosophy is her belief in the power of theatre as an educational tool to enliven and engage imaginations. The power to imagine what is impossible and unimaginable opens the doors to active positive change in ourselves, our communities, and our world.