John Michael DiResta Director


I direct in the theatre because I love the world we live in, and I believe that the stage best allows examination of that world. As a citizen, I believe that the primary solution to societal problems is to increase the empathy we have for each other. As an artist, I believe that no experience teaches empathy more than seeing theatre. Theatre asks us to imagine what it is to be someone else and in the imagining, we learn to empathize. It is my artistic mission to make theatre that inspires empathy by modeling it.

I am driven to make theatre where there was no theatre before. I enjoy making theatre with new theatre artists, whether they are kids, teenagers, artists from other disciplines, or adults who don’t consider themselves artists. I like making theatre with playwrights, actors and designers in spaces that are not theaters. I strive to bring into existing theaters work that challenges the traditions of the form. And more than anything else, I seek opportunities to develop and direct new plays. I am particularly invested in new works that tackle the complicated questions of social justice in our world, and I believe that shepherding any new work of art into the world is in itself an act of social justice.

A proud descendant of the industrial mill town of Lawrence, Massachusetts, I was raised by the Atlantic Ocean on Massachusetts’s North Shore and now live in Brooklyn.


Up Next!

This September, John joins the faculty of the theater department at Skidmore college as artist-in-residence!

In November, John directs Stefan Ivanov's new play The Same Day at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center!





“John Michael DiResta’s spot-on production of Adam Bock’s 2008 play is surprisingly intelligent and sad, while maintaining a tongue-in-cheek brilliance – an apt addition to Steppenwolf’s annual Next Up series…The production’s nearly flawless."

 –  Chicago Theatre Beat


“Director John Michael DiResta imbues Sessa’s script with a smart sense of varied pacing.”

NY Theatre Now 


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