Theater and opera director Mary Birnbaum was born in New York. After graduating from Harvard University she attended the École Jacques Lecoq in Paris where she studied movement and design and began to create theater works. She is artistic director of art.party.theater.company, an avant-garde theater company she founded in 2009. She has collaborated with Flux Factory, the Foundry Theater Company, American Opera Projects, and Bryant Park in the creation of original theater pieces. Most recently she directed productions at Melbourne Opera Studio, Juilliard, Son of Semele Theater in Los Angeles, and the New Orleans Fringe Festival. Birnbaum has assisted fellow faculty member Stephen Wadsworth at the Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, and on Broadway. In 2013 she was associate director of Wagner’s Ring cycle at the Seattle Opera. She holds an AB from Harvard (English language and literature major; French language and literature minor) and a certificate in movement and design from the École Jacques Lecoq. She has been a faculty member and associate director of opera studies at Juilliard since 2010 and was the inaugural directing fellow in the school’s Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts.