Tom Burmester founded The Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble in 2004 and currently serves as Co-Artistic Director. He also presided over the historic Powerhouse Theatre as Managing Director during the Ensemble’s tenure (2008 – 2011). Over the past decade Tom has produced over 30 plays in Los Angeles including several award winning productions. Tom is the writer and creator of The War Cycle which currently includes the plays Wounded, Nation of Two, and Gospel According to First Squad. He is a three-time Ovation Award nominee (in playwriting, directing, and producing), and has won several other awards and recognition for his work as a playwright, director and producer, including a Special Citation from LA Weekly for “Excellence and Breadth of Vision.”
In 2008, Tom began his mandate at Center Theatre Group to transform the audience experience at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. As Audience Experience Designer, he engineers engaging participatory experiences, applying game mechanics to create interactive events within the frame of the featured performance. He was invited to demonstrate his work in this field as a featured speaker at the TCG Nation Conference where he presented “A New Frontier: Using Audience Engagement to Connect with Theatergoers.”
Positioned at the intersection of audience engagment and his artistic vocation as a theatre creative, Tom became interested in the potential for engagement and interactivity as an artistic medium for the storyteller. Within this discipline he is particularly interested in researching and developing an artist-friendly toolkit for creating participatory or interactive theatre/performance. This toolset would include elements of transmedia storytelling, the Internet of Things as a performance platform, gamification of performance and gamification of the creative process, engagement as community building, and community as storyteller.
Additionally, Tom is interested in the way cultural, labor, legal, and economic structures impact audience engagement on both the local and national levels, and the ethics of audience engagement and interactive performance.
Tom is a native Californian. He grew up in Davis, lived for a time in the Bay Area, and in far Northern California. Since 2001 he has called Los Angeles his home. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre and Dance from the University of California, Davis, and his Master of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of California, Los Angeles.