Princess Grace Statue Award, 1993

Princess Grace Award
Theater Fellowship, 1990
Drama League of New York



Additional Grants:
• 2004 Special Project Grant

Melia Bensussen , a recipient of an OBIE Award for Outstanding Direction, lives in Boston where she has directed at the Huntington Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and Actors Shakespeare Project. Around the country she has directed at American Conservatory Theatre, Baltimore Centerstage, Hartford Stage Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, the New York Shakespeare Festival, Primary Stages, the Long Wharf, Actors Theatre of Louisville, People’s Light and Theatre (Barrymore for Best Direction), San Jose Rep, and many others.   In the 16-17 season she will be directing the professional premiere of Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Ibsen’s Doll’s House at the Huntington Theatre, and the world premiere of Deborah Salem Smith’s Faithful Cheaters at Trinity Repertory in Providence, RI.

Her direction of new works has taken her to New York Stage and Film, Sundance, Midwest Playlabs, and the O’Neill Theatre Festival, where she most recently directed a workshop of The War Department, a new musical commissioned by the American Repertory Theatre (ART), by Jim and Ruth Bauer.  Other collaborations with playwrights include work with Masha Obolensky, Catherine Filloux, Motti Lerner, Carey Perloff, Mat Smart, Ken Urban, Jeffrey Hatcher, Laura Maria Censabella, Lee Blessing, Richard Dresser, Willy Holtzman, Eduardo Machado, Edwin Sanchez, and Y York. Her play The Bluebeard Project, co-authored with playwright Masha Obolensky, was part of the Huntington New Works and is currently in development.   Simultaneously, she is working with playwright Melinda Lopez on a new version of Lorca’s Yerma commissioned by the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT).

Raised in Mexico City by her Mexican father and New York-born mother, Melia is fluent in Spanish and has translated and adapted a variety of works, including her edition of the Langston Hughes translation of Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding, published by Theatre Communications Group.  Her essay on The Merchant of Venice (The Traveling Pound of Flesh) was recently published in Jews, Theatre, Performance in an Intercultural Context by Brill Publishing.  She is featured in Women Stage Directors Speak by Rebecca Daniels (McFarland and Co.), and in Nancy Taylor’s Women Direct Shakespeare (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press).

A past recipient of a Princess Grace Fellowship, she was awarded the Foundation’s top honor, the Statue Award (for Sustained Excellence in Directing). In 2017 Melia became the Chair of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA’s Arts Advisory Board. A graduate of Brown University, Melia is Chair of the Performing Arts Department at Emerson College in Boston. In January 2018, Melia was announced as the new Artistic Director of Hartford Stage, the first woman to helm the theater in its history.