For the past 23 years, W Nicolas Sabato has served as executive artistic director for local theater organization Santa Fe Performing Arts (SFPA), a company that operates inside the Armory for the Arts Theater (1050 Old Pecos Trail, 984-1370). In addition to his administrative work, Sabato has served as an actor and teacher, and during his esteemed career has inhabited nearly every role one imagines when they think of theatrical performance. He's worked with children and adults around the country, studied at the British American Theatre Institute at the now-defunct College of Santa Fe and directed, acted and written countless productions. As of the end of this month, Sabato will step down. Taking his position is Megan Burns, co-founder of arts collective Meow Wolf, and a musician and actor herself.
“I am excited to continue the programming that we already do,” Burns, who has directed the youth program at SFPA almost 15 years, says. “I am also really excited to figure out ways to make an adult company more viable, and to push what theater and performance art can be.”
Burns is particularly proud of her Play it Forward project, a means to spark awareness around social issues facing our state. "The last one we did was called Foster, and we went out and spoke with kids who had gone through the foster system in New Mexico," she says. "We paired actors with kids, and the actors took on their writing and we put together this really beautiful piece that brought a lot of awareness about fostering children to the community.”
Beyond creating a beautiful performance piece that educated the community, Foster set quantifiable goodness in motion. “I think something like 30 people stepped forward and received the information about fostering children," Burns says, "and I think a few kids got placed in foster homes.”
Burns will continue directing SFPA's youth programs into 2017 to allow for training and potential new staff. She is currently working on another Play it Forward piece called The Lowrider Project, a three way collaboration between SFPA, the Northern New Mexico College in Española and the New Mexico History Museum. “I am excited to look at the community and see what we need and how we can help,” she says.