John Collins
Theater Director
New York, NY
2011 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by Shawn M. Donnelley and Christopher M. Kelly.

John Collins is the Artistic Director and Founder of the Elevator Repair Service (ERS) Theater in New York. Founded in 1991 with a group of actors, ERS is now one of the most acclaimed experimental theater companies in New York. In describing the company’s work, Collins says, “ERS pieces incorporate a great variety of narratives, forms, and ideas but they all have in common their inappropriateness for the stage.” An example is the highly praised Gatz, a seven-hour play in which the actors recite the entire F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby with the actors morphing into the characters in the book. The play won a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Alternative Theatrical Experience in 2011, and Collins was nominated for Outstanding Director, among other honors.

Portrait photo courtesy Ariana Smart Truman.
  • Artwork by John Collins
    The Select (The Sun Also Rises) by Elevator Repair Service, 2011; directed by John Collins; photo credit Rob Strong
Artwork by John Collins