Lyndsay Burch ’13 named first female artistic director of Sacramento’s B Street Theatre

Burch began working for B Street Theatre in 2013 as an artistic associate and has worked her way up the ranks to become the theatre's first women artistic director.

Lynsday Burch ’13

Lyndsay Burch ’13 has been named the new artistic director of B Street Theatre, a staple in the Sacramento performing arts community. At 30 years old, Burch is making history as the first woman named to the position.

B Street Theatre is a professional, non-profit theatre located in Sacramento, California. Starting as an Actors’ Equity touring theatre for children in 1986, it now serves as the mainstage residential professional programing for adult audiences in the Sacramento area.

Originally a theatre studies major, Burch contacted Acting program coordinator Fred Rubeck about her interest in directing upon her arrival at Elon in 2009. After learning about the opportunities and exposure to directing that BFA Acting students receive, and knowing it was important to her to learn about the craft holistically, Burch auditioned for the Acting program her first semester and was accepted.

“The professors worked with me to create a trajectory that fit what I wanted to do,” Burch fondly reflected.

During her time at Elon, Burch was granted many opportunities to explore her interests, including studying Commedia Dell’arte in Italy and spending time at the National Theatre Institute in Connecticut as part of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.

Leading up to her graduation, Burch found herself really lost on where her next steps would take her, unable to find many opportunities that were the right fit for her directing interests. Rubeck introduced her to the B Street Theatre Directing Internship.

She applied and was accepted to the position in early spring of her senior year.

Interior of The Sofia, B Street Theatre’s Residence

“Elon had cultivated a long-term relationship with B Street. I would not be here if not for that,” Burch recalled.

Outgoing artistic director of the B Street Theatre Buck Busfield later told Burch regarding her application, “I was looking for an intern who was serious about directing and not just flirting with the idea of directing and when I looked at your resume, I saw that.”

Following her completion of the eight-month internship in 2013, she was offered a staff position at B Street Theatre as an artistic associate, where she was able to direct three to four shows a year and gain more hands-on administrative experience. From there, Burch found herself being promoted to artistic producer in 2017, where she managed the entire theatre’s move to their new space, The Sofia. She was named associate artistic director soon after.

As associate artistic director, Burch was second only to the artistic director in terms of decision making, management, overseeing every administrative department, purview overcasting, play selection and working with the executive producer of production selection. She was learning the ins and outs of every department.

When the pandemic hit, Burch found herself as the lead producer of B Street’s virtual programming, while also maintaining her position as associate artistic director. She was a part of almost every single virtual event and found herself becoming a strong face for the organization.

Following the announcement of Busfield’s retirement in January 2021, Burch was selected for the role of artistic director by the organization’s board of directors, having noticed her immeasurable impact.

During her time at Elon, she was also a member of the Honor’s program where she researched and defended her thesis, “The Elon Women’s Theatre Project: An Agent for Change.” Her thesis measured the marginalization of women in theatrical positions of leadership. Burch was passionate about creating spaces for women in the arts outside of performing, but her research found that there were few existing opportunities. Many women hoping to hold positions of leadership were being met with resistance.

Fast forward 13 years, Burch is living proof of the progress the industry has made.

“My college self would be like, ‘You are living your dream come true.’ Of course, it’s not easy in many respects, nor did I expect it to be. I would say you are living your dream come true, but you also did your research, it was true and these are the things we are now striving to change in the industry,” Lyndsay said.

Her goal for B Street Theatre? To focus on female-oriented stories and voices, ones that offer the nuances of what it means to be a woman.

“It’s about shifting the perspective of where women fit in the theatre and in the arts,” she said.

Lyndsay Burch ’13

When asked what advice she had for women looking to hold a position of leadership, Burch responded, “Know that you have something to bring. Do not ever doubt that – your voice, your vision and your personal experiences are of value, and they need to be heard.”