Born and raised in Ankara /Turkey, Handan Ozbilgin is a NYC-based Independent Theater Director/Producer and the Associate Artistic Director of LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (LPAC) at LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC).
Handan’s field contributions include serving as an Affiliated Artist with the Lark Play Development Center as well as New Georges. Handan is also a member of Lincoln Center’s Directors Lab, Theatre Without Borders, Atelier for Young Managers and was part of the Emerging Leadership Institute (ELI) class of 2016. In 2019 Handan received TCG’s “On the Road” grant and currently serves as a member of the artistic advisory committee at Theater Row.
Handan Ozbilgin conceived of and cultivated the widely acclaimed LPAC LAB Space Grant Program. Now in its eighth year under Handan’s leadership, the LAB has hosted more than 70 companies. Under the umbrella of the LPAC LAB program, Handan is also the curator and founder of The Rough Draft Theater Festival. A window into the creative process, The Rough Draft Festival is an annual showcase of exciting new work currently under development by LPAC and other companies. Handan teaches acting at LAGCC where she develops original work with her students.
AS AN INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR,
Handan Ozbilgin’s site-specific theater productions include: Wedding (In collaboration with No Longer Empty, 2013); projectmaids (2010-2011); a four part series inspired by Jean Genet’s Maids; 3 Sisters Vanishing (2010); The Wall-House-Yard Trilogy (Wall participated at 2006 Istanbul Theater Festival and was invited to the 2006 Egypt International Experimental Theater Festival) and Rumi’s Math (2003 New York Fringe Festival).
Handan has directed NYC productions of two prominent Turkish playwrights: For Rent by Ozen Yula (World Premiere) and I, Anatolia by Gungor Dilmen (World Premiere). Off-Broadway credits include: Three Graces by Ruth Margraff and Lonely Leela by Rehana Mirza; Stage Reading PERSONA NON GRATA by Ceren Ercan – Gülce Uğurlu (Phoenix Theatre Ensemble); Rose Love Pepe (Target Margin Theater’s Stein Lab). Immigrant Theater project co-director for Suzie Lorie Parks’ 365 Days and Difficult Dialogues Reading Series; Lark Play Development Center, Assistant Director for Pera Palas.
Handan’s theatrical education began at one of Turkey’s most prestigious institutions, Ankara University Theater Conservatory. Post-graduation, Handan worked as an art journalist at Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) for one year. In 1994 she received a full scholarship to study theatre abroad at CWP Long Island University (MA Degree, 1997). While pursuing her PHD in Theater at CUNY Graduate Center, Handan remained busy as an independent theater director while also fitting in internships at TCG, Lark Theater Company; and house management gigs at Brooklyn Center and Blue Man Group. In 2007, Handan was appointed full-time Associate Artistic Director at LPAC.