We look to the past to shape our future. Who are you? Where are you going from here?

My name is Nathan Winkelstein. I am the Associate Artistic Director of Red Bull Theater in NYC. I am a director and teacher with a passion for discovering new classics and for removing the historical barriers between modern day audiences and artists and the classic works. I hope to one day run a company that presents visceral and accessible plays that ask hard questions and promote dialogue.

What most excites you about being a part of TAM’s Brave New Worlds Season?

Regional theater is an essential part of every community. TAM proves it’s worth by even managing to exist. The fact that it can bring high quality classics to Maine and get high quality young talent from across the country is very exciting. Repertory Theater is how artists cut their teeth. Monmouth is one of the last few repertory’s left and I am excited to be a part of that.

We’re all about making old things new and new things classic. Why are you drawn to Classic Theatre? How do you shake it up?

I think it is very difficult to look at current events through a clear lens. We are all caught up in our feelings, our hopes and our fears. Classic plays give us an opportunity to see challenges that reflect our own from days past and see how they were handled. They also offer us a way to digest today’s world with clearer and less sensitive eyes. The conversations that come out of these plays are an essential aspect of our National dialogue.

From what sources do you draw your inspiration?

This is an impossible question. Shakespeare is my touchstone, but I am inspired by rap, Musical theater, current events, and individual human moments that happen every day.

I am also deeply inspired by DnD and the art of collaborative storytelling…but that’s a different discussion!

You can have dinner with any three influential people. Who are your dream guests, why them, and what is the topic of conversation?

Shakespeare, Obama and Jane Austin – They could talk about anything they wanted to. I am here for it! But of course, the intersection between art, literature and politics is of special fascination to me.

If I could have a fourth it would be a bad guy…a Hitler type…just to see them eviscerate him – or in some strange dream world find a way to get through to him and stop hate and destruction by appealing to empathy.

How have the past few years changed your view of making theater and what action are you most proud of?

The past few years have taught me that if we all embrace our ‘weird’ and stop trying to be cool all the time. The world would be a better place.

I take great pride in working to be kind to people around me and to myself. I think we often assume that kindness is something we have or we don’t, but I truly believe it can be worked on. I try very hard to give myself and others grace (I do not always succeed, its work).

What’s your super power?

Hmmm, Empathy? That is a classic for artists, you need that superpower or you will fail.

Other than that, I see myself as an amplifier. I love nurturing other people’s talent or skill, nothing brings me more joy.