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Sarah O'Connell is often referred to as "The Eat More Art Lady," and her favorite food is theatre. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she served as the Associate Artistic Director of Impact Theatre and holds a Master of Drama degree in Directing from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Her work has been performed internationally and includes several regional and world premiere productions. She is an alumnus of the West Coast and Chicago Director's Labs, and La Mama ETC in Umbria. In addition to teaching at UNLV, she has worked at a variety of professional companies including American Conservatory Theatre , TheatreWorks, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and Glasgow's Theatre Cryptic. She is Artistic DIrector of The Asylum Theatre in Las Vegas, and co-owner of Axislights Inc, a production lighting services company servicing the Rock and Roll and Corporate Event industry.
Ms. O'Connell founded EatMoreArtVegas.com in 2015, a website dedicated to the promotion of Southern Nevada's independent arts and culture sector and assumed management of the Las Vegas Valley Theatre Awards program.
In 2016, she added advising culture organizations on advancement and advocacy to her portfolio. She began facilitating monthly community "Vegas Arts Table" town hall meetings in the Downtown Arts District in 2019 which have gone virtual (but uninterrupted) since the COVID pandemic. In 2019 she led the local community in a successful #DoItForDebbie campaign to save the landmark Debbie Reynolds Dr. Sarah O'Connell assumed the role of Executive Director with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra (HSO) in May 2020 and aided in a successful campaign for an $84 mil public-private partnership between the City of Henderson and the Vegas Golden Knights - a deal that resulted in a guaranteed permanent home for the HSO in a new world-class venue.
In July 2020, she co-founded the Producers Alliance of Southern Nevada (PALSNV) with other independent commercial producers and nonprofit performing arts leaders to encourage strategic partnerships for the local creative economy, and serves as its Policy Director. She sits on the Legislative Policy Committee for the annual National Arts Action Summit in Washington DC to assist in defining Arts and Humanities-related policy issues, and crafting language advocating for Congressional investment in the Creative Economy and Cultural Development.
Ms. O'Connell is a Member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) and an Associate Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).