Over a multifaceted career, award-winning director Joe Banno has distinguished himself as an innovative, critically acclaimed stage and film artist. In work that has been called “joltingly powerful”, “audacious” and “engagingly freewheeling”, he has brought his unique directorial vision to over 100 productions in the US and Europe, spanning classical and contemporary theatre, opera, musicals, video and film.
For a decade, Banno was the artistic director of Washington DC’s groundbreaking Source Theatre Company. His productions there, and at theatres in the DC-area, have been nominated for 38 prestigious Helen Hayes Awards (four of them for Outstanding Production and four for Outstanding Direction) and have won 9 of them, including one for Outstanding Direction. Banno is also the recipient of the Mary Goldwater Award and the Bud Yorkin Award, both for excellence in directing.
In 2009, he released his first independent feature-film, “Sleeping and Waking”, which had a theatrical run, and has streamed on several platforms. He later directed a 12-part web-series with nutritionist Janis Jibrin for Bob Greene’s TheBestLife.com.
In a successful second career outside his directing work, Banno has established himself as a fresh voice in classical music, opera and film criticism, with hundreds of his pieces published in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and Washington City Paper, among others.
A frequent acting coach, conference panelist, competition judge and theatre consultant, Banno has also been general manager at radio station WFUV-FM in NYC, project-directed a new-works funding initiative at Opera America and, for two years, served as the on-camera co-host for the official U.S. live-broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards to the Arab world on Alhurra Television.
He has guest-lectured at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism (in Pulitzer-Prize-winner Tim Page’s arts-criticism seminar), as well as at Pepperdine University, Catholic University, St Mary’s College of Maryland and The Shakespeare Theatre in DC.
Holding a Directing MFA from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Fine Arts BA from Georgetown University – together with extensive post-graduate studies in theatre, film and music at NYU, Long Island University, The New School, The School of Visual Arts, Global Village Video Center, and The British-American Drama Academy at Oxford University – Banno brings a uniquely wide-ranging and multi-disciplinary perspective to his work.
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