Karen Paisley is the founding Artistic Director of Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre As Artistic Director, she established MET´s Flagship program, created the Magellan New Plays and New Artists Project seeking the next great master writers and supporting the development of new plays and continued growth of professional performing artists and implemented MET´s Lighthouse Learning Program providing arts integration educational programming to schools in Kansas City. As a director and dramaturg, she works extensively with new and emerging writers serving as judge and panelist for the MATC New Plays Symposium 2005 and regularly collaborates with colleges and universities through site visits and workshops. She founded the Kansas City Playwrighting Intensive, now in its third year. Since its inception, this Intensive has served writers from America, Canada, and Germany. In the fall, MET pilots two new initiatives, The Galileo Project, placing science center stage, and The Renaissance of Reading Program, taking staged readings of great works across the Kansas/Missouri region.
Formerly Director of Education and Literary Associate for the KC Rep, she created new programs extending theatre to new communities, underserved and at risk populations, establishing record outreach levels and founded Collaborative Lab, an ensemble based artistic training program to serve the professional theatre community in Kansas City.
A veteran professional director, performer, writer, award-winning educator, and arts advocate, she enjoys both established masterworks and creating original work that explores language, movement, and symbol systems and has many directing projects and acting roles to her credit: Death of a Salesman, Babel Revisited, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, Galileo, West Side Story, Facing Forty in Sensible Shoes, and now, Whitehorse.
The former chair of North Carolina´s K-12 Theatre Division serving 700 theatre educators, Karen is a "theatre missionary" who spent 12 years developing theatre programs in underserved communities. A former teacher of the year nominee, she serves on numerous boards and panels, has authored multiple K-12 arts integration curriculums, holds a BFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. Deeply committed to the creation of new theatrical work and to extending arts access to all people, she is passionate about the power or story, the development of new work, and the critical place of the arts in our lives.