MARTHA B. JOHNSON is a stage director, dramaturg, and playwright who co-founded Full Circle Theater, and served as its Co-Artistic Director from 2014 - 2022. She's currently an active Core Artist at Full Circle, and serves on its Core Artist Leadership Group. She’s directed 40+ theater productions over her career in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul), and is a longtime collaborator with Full Circle Co-Artistic Director Rick Shiomi, both at Full Circle and at Theater Mu, where she was a co-founder and served as a Core Artist Group member for 21 years.
At Full Circle she has directed Anne Carson/Sophokles' Antigonick and Glass & Lady M. and served as assistant director for Full Circle’s acclaimed production of Caught at the Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio directed by Rick Shiomi. She provided the original vision and staging concept for Full Circle’s 2017 production, 365 Days/365 Plays by Suzan-Lori Parks: A 2017 Remix, at Penumbra Theater, and directed 16 of the 46 short plays selected. At Theater Mu, she developed and directed several plays including The Hand that Holds the String, Land of a Million Elephants, Grace, and Triangles. She also directed Stolen Generation, by Ardie Medina, at New Native Theater, Minneapolis, in 2016.
She was co-writer, dramaturg, and assistant director for Full Circle’s 2015 premiere production Theater: A Sacred Passage. In fall 2019 her play Dipped in Love was co-produced by Full Circle and Theater KinderSpace in Tokyo, with a Japanese translation by Momoko Tanno.
She began her Twin Cities career in the early 1980s as co-founder/co-artistic director of 21st Street Players, an experimental, innovative theater company, where she collaborated on new works by renowned poet Robert Bly and acclaimed Japanese Noh master Akira Matsui.
She holds a Ph.D. in theater from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she specialized in ancient Greek, traditional Japanese, and experimental European theater. She was a director, teaching artist, and professor at Augsburg University from 1988 to 2014.
Concept and Direction
Photography by LKBachman
Concept and Direction of 16 Plays
"The Light at the End of the Tunnel"
Pictured: Siddeeqah Shabazz, Marcos Lopez, Ashawnti Sakina Ford
Naoko Sakakibara and Asako Fukamachi
KinderSpace Theater, Tokyo