John Clinton Eisner
Founder & Artistic Director Emeritus
John Clinton Eisner co-founded The Lark in 1994 as a community of theater professionals dedicated to the playwright’s vision. He has grown The Lark into an award winning “think tank for the theater,” with local, national and global reach. He divides his time between working directly with playwrights and creating strategies with artistic leaders in the United States and abroad to advance new plays into the repertoire. He has collaborated with partner theaters, literary agencies and funders to develop multiple-production “pipelines” for new plays. Trained as an actor, he began his transition to directing and producing through his experiences at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference, the National Theatre of the Deaf, the Denver Center Theatre Company and Williamstown Theatre Festival (where he acted in one of Tennessee Williams’ last plays, Gideon’s Point). He worked in casting for Johnson-Liff Casting Associates, ticket sales at the Roundabout’s Criterion Center Box Office and as managing director and associate artistic director at Rhode Island’s Colonial Theatre (where he co-founded Westerly Shakespeare in the Park, now in its 25th season, and Plays in Progress, a program that eventually led to the formation of The Lark). He has directed plays by Calderon, Yeats, Wilder, Shakespeare, John Patrick Shanley, Jeroen van den Berg, Anton Dudley, Aditi Brennan Kapil, Elizabeth Logun, Ian Rowlands and Lloyd Suh, among others, and worked with hundreds of writers on new plays at The Lark, including Kristoffer Diaz, Katori Hall, David Henry Hwang, Rajiv Joseph, Arthur Kopit, Koffi Kwahule, Javier Malpica, Theresa Rebeck, Saviana Stanescu, Sinan Unel, Tracey Scott Wilson and Karen Zacarías. He has led workshops at many universities and served as advisor for CEC Artslink, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Theatre Development Fund, Theatre Communications Group, National New Play Network, TheatreForum Magazine, Transport Group and the Lucille Lortel Awards Committee and on the boards of the National Theatre Conference and the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America (of which he was a charter member). He received degrees from Amherst College and the National Theatre Conservatory and lives in New York City with his wife Jennifer Dorr White and two children, Hannah and Jake.