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Resident Stage Director

Tara Branham returns to Opera San José as Resident Director next season for shows including Carmen. Tara has worked on Madama Butterfly, Die Fledermaus and Hansel and Gretel with OSJ and we are thrilled to have her back.

Growing up in Floyds Knobs, IN, Tara discovered the arts as a young child, taking great pleasure playing the violin and singing and aged 13 only, Tara decided she wanted a career in the arts. “I started directing in high school and at the time was also a performer in musical theatre, orchestra (violin), and a Capella choir. I was 13 when I saw Pippin at the local high school (that I would later attend) and that was it for me. I love the way that a live performance’s “liveness” is practically impossible to replicate. I love being in rooms with all those feelings – on the stage and in the audience.” 

Despite being encouraged by her family to follow a different career path, Tara couldn’t leave her passion behind and worked hard to achieve her dream career. “I think that, my willfulness, and my belief that stories are a way to change the world all contributed to my chosen profession.” Graduating from Ball State University with a BA in Theatre and Directing, she has built a robust directing portfolio both in Opera and Theatre. The passion and enthusiasm Tara brings into her work often leads to inspiring and rewarding moments, one of which was when she directed and produced the US premiere of the play RAW by Chris O’Connell. “During our final dress, one of my Meisner instructors attended and I saw her get squirted with blood on the leg of her jeans. Mortified, I approached her after, apologized, let her know it was washable, and offered to pay for the dry cleaning. “Are you kidding me? THAT WAS AWESOME!” And she took her jeans home and washed them herself. My goal of placing the audience as close to the action as possible and creating a full sensory experience had been realized, and it was celebrated! That was a major win.”

Based in Chicago, Tara is also a theatre casting director, producer, and brand marketer. Tara loves to spend time cooking, learning how to play the guitar, make paper flowers, practice flower arranging and do Dance 2020 in her living room! Tara is active in progressive movements and the founder of Digital Book Club for White Women and FAT Folx. She also takes voice lessons with Marya Lowry and attends acting classes at the Black Box Acting Studio in Meisner.