Handan Ozbilgin is a New York based independent theatre director and producer currently in her 12th year as Associate Artistic Director of LaGuardia Performing Arts Center.  In 2003, Handan conceived and cultivated the widely acclaimed LPAC Lab Space Grant Program. This program is credited with hosting more than 80 companies over the course of 10 years and generating new work centered around multiculturalism and social justice issues. 

Similarly, Handan created and curated the Rough Draft Festival, now in its seventh year at LPAC. Rough Draft provides creators the opportunity to develop innovative, new work and audiences the unique opportunity to take a peek into the creative process. As a steadfast new works advocate, Handan’s leadership has helped to launch new plays into further development, on local, national and international levels. 

Originally from Ankara, Turkey, Handan is a multi-faceted artist and administrator. In 1994, Handan was awarded a full scholarship to study theatre abroad at Long Island University and received her MA Degree in theatre in 1997. Following that, Handan pursued her PhD in Theatre at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. During this time, Handan continued to work in the field not only as an independent theatre director but also embarking on internships both at TCG and the Lark Play Development Center.

Handan’s credits as an independent theatre director include the New York City World Premiere production of playwright Ozen Yula’s piece, For Rent (2012) as well as I, Anatolia (2003) by Gunger Dilmen.  Off-Broadway Handan has co-directed Immigrant Theater’s 365 Days and Difficult Dialogues Reading Series by Suzi Lori Parks (2007) and acted as assistant director for Pera Palas at the Lark Play Development Center. Most recently, Handan directed Rose Love Pepe at Target Margin Theater’s Stein Lab and Department of Dreams by Jeton Neziray in Greece in 2018. Privatopia, by Maria Efstathiadi was a piece born out of the Rough Draft Festival at LPAC that was accepted into Egypt’s International Experimental Theater Festival in 2018 under Handan’s direction.

At LaGuardia Community College Handan directed Lonely Leela by Rehana Mirza and has worked as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at LaGuardia Community College’s Theatre Program teaching Acting I.

Handan’s field contributions include serving as an Affiliated Artist with the Lark Play Development Center as well as New Georges. Handan is also a member of Lincoln Center’s Directors Lab, Theatre Without Borders, Atelier for Young Managers and was part of the Emerging Leadership Institute (ELI) class of 2016. In 2019 Handan received TCG’s “On the Road” grant and currently serves as a member of the artistic advisory committee at Theater Row.