BENJAMIN VIERTEL is a freelance director based in New York City, who grew up in France with an Italian mother and German father. At 11 he emigrated to the U.S. speaking three languages, none of them English. A director and foreigner, his work makes the outsider experience central while illuminating injustices and exposing the underpinnings of society. Through an amalgamation of American and European dramaturgical and theatrical styles, Benjamin creates performances that teeter between seduction and aggression, focusing on the individual versus society, and investigating shame in the personal and political spheres.
As co-founding Artistic Director of Third Space, Benjamin has directed both theater and film projects. The New Yorker’s Hilton Als described The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant as “a fascinating Rococo experiment in power.” The New York Times called Fireface, “inventive and sophisticated" and went on to say, "[Benjamin's] enthusiasm and ingenuity are very much in evidence, and it will be exciting to see what he and his designers accomplish next.” Benjamin has developed new works with Davenport Theatrical, Abrons Arts Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Civilians and his work has been seen at Atlantic Stage II, The York Theatre, The New Ohio, The Brick, Playhouse on the Square, Bristol Valley Theater, IRT, and NYC Fringe. He is a Manhattan Theater Club's Directing Fellow, a Resident Artist at Abrons Arts Center, and a member of The Kennedy Center Director’s Lab, and The Civilians’ R&D Group.
As an assistant and associate, he has worked with Moises Kaufman at Roundabout Theater Company, Billy Porter at The Huntington Theater Company, Peter Kleinert of the Berlin Schaubühne, Loretta Grecco, and Steve Cosson. From 2013-2016, Benjamin was the Artistic Manager at The National Theatre for Student Artists. He holds a BFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University.
Photo credit: Bridget Badore
Story by Benjamin Viertel and Anouk Amber Kesou
Written by Aditya Lal Chadha
The Theater @ Schapiro at Columbia University
December 1st and 2nd, 2023