Michael Barker joined Westport Country Playhouse in 2016 from Mill Valley, CA, where he was the managing director of Marin Theatre Company. Previously, Barker was general manager of Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach, CA, and managing director for the Los Angeles classical theater ensemble The Antaeus Company. Before moving to California, Barker was associate managing director at Yale Repertory Theatre and managing director of Yale Summer Cabaret, and produced the first annual Carlotta Festival of New Plays. He was Seattle Repertory Theatre’s 2008 Managing Director Fellow. Prior to graduate school, he was associate director of marketing for Court Theatre in Chicago, and also worked with Goodman Theatre, American Theater Company, Sansculottes Theater Company, and The Playground Theater.
At Westport Country Playhouse, in partnership with Mark Lamos, Barker leads a staff of twenty-seven and hundreds of freelance artists and artisans annually. Under his leadership, the Playhouse joined the League of Resident Theaters (LORT), the national collective bargaining unit for major regional theaters in the United States. In 2019, the Playhouse adopted a five-year strategic plan including artistic, financial, infrastructure, and equity initiatives.
Barker holds an MFA in theater management from Yale School of Drama and an MBA from Yale School of Management. At Yale, he was the recipient of the Daniel and Helene Sheehan Scholarship for theater management and a Kosciusko Scholarship for outstanding students of Polish descent. He served on the Yale School of Management Alumni Advisory Board and as an Association of Yale Alumni delegate. He trained with artEquity as a diversity, equity and inclusion facilitator.
He serves as a grant panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. He is an elected member of the Board of Finance in Trumbull, CT where he lives with his wife, the costume designer Heidi Leigh Hanson, and 7-year-old son, Lawrence.