Peggy McKowen

Peggy McKowen, CATF’s newly appointed Producing Artistic Director


At CATF we pride ourselves on always looking to the future. We envision a more just and more equitable world. The arts are a vital piece in turning this vision into reality and we accept, embrace, and celebrate that responsibility and opportunity. For CATF to be a part of creating this world, we must continue to grow and move forward.

I am delighted to share with you that Peggy McKowen has been unanimously appointed by the Board of Trustees to help move CATF toward this future as the Producing Artistic Director. 

For 15 years, Peggy has shaped the Festival experience as the Associate Producing Director. Like me – if you have been in awe of the production designs or have been captivated during a talktheater discussion – you have experienced Peggy’s magic first hand.

In September, Peggy was named the Acting Producing Director when our Founder Ed Herendeen retired. During that short time, Peggy has led the organization with a genuine and heartfelt passion. She has demonstrated her continued commitment to the Festival’s mission and values, while also directing a more conscious commitment toward becoming an anti-racist and anti-oppressive theater company. With her astonishing artistry, unwavering dedication to the artists, and knowledge of the Festival, there is no one better to help usher CATF into the future.

Naming Peggy as the Producing Artistic Director is just the first phase in CATF’s new three-person leadership model. A nation-wide search for a Managing Director, which will be conducted by Management Consultants for the Arts with support from equity consultant Sarah Bellamy, will begin in the new year. The final phase of the transition is adding a co-artistic leader, who will work in collaboration with Peggy.

These two new positions will join Peggy and a team of talented and skilled staff members: Ebonée, Trent, Nicole, Gaby, and Vicki. They are all eager to create a new direction and experience for CATF artists and patrons.

As the Board President, I have had the privilege of working with Peggy for several years and I can assure you the Contemporary American Theater Festival is in capable, artistic, and caring hands. The Board is ecstatic Peggy is taking on this new role and is energized to add new voices to the leadership team, as we all forge the future together.

Marellen Aherne

Marellen J. Aherne
President, Board of Trustees