Murray Utas, Co-Artistic Producer
Murray is a director, performer and playwright. He has been involved in professional theatre and film since 1992. As a performer he spent most of his first years on the road, traveling with regional and national tours or guesting with a Canadian Theatre Company. Through all of this Edmonton was his home base, one that he saw but two times a year and sometimes only for days, but knew that somehow this was home and ended up calling it as such since 1999.
In 2003, Murray was offered the position of General Manager with Azimuth Theatre. He accepted and in the 2004-2005 Season a new forming of titles was made. Steve Pirot joined the senior staff and in discussions it was decided the traditional roles of Artistic Director and General Manager did fit the vision that both Pirot and Utas were after. Their roles were amended and re-introduced as Co-Artistic Producers to better suit their roles.
Murray still looks after all the General Manager duties and is artistically involved as well in the programming. He has held the position heading into now his eighth year. Murray acts more as an executive director of Azimuth Theatre Association as he looks after all aspects from accounting, to facility management, to producing, to directing and performing. When he first took over he had inherited a $30,000 dollar deficit which he was able to reverse in just 18 months. He had assessed the needs of the small theatre company and found excessive overhead costs and simplified the approach without having to sacrifice the artistic output of the company.
In 2004, He founded the “Realtors Expanse Movement Arts Festival” a physical based festival which explores the body as the base of creation. This festival started as a small intimate gathering performed in Azimuth’s intimate 55 seat theatre and has grown now to perform in multiple venues across the city. The festival, now in it’s seventh year has landed itself to join the rest of Edmonton’s Festival city mainstays.
In 2008, Murray also joined The Nextfest Arts Company as Festival Manager and looks after producing that 10 day Emerging Artist Multi-Disciplinary Festival happening every June called “Nextfest”.
Murray is an award winning director with such hits as “Real Time” by Matt Alden that toured to Orlando, Montreal and Toronto. The production was nominated for numerous awards, including best production and best director in Orlando and Toronto. Murray won best director at the 2006 Toronto International Fringe Festival.