Blake is an artist and educator, whose Off-Broadway production of Play/Date “pushes boundaries – both artistic and personal – and takes theater one step further in the process” (Time Out New York). His work as a director or designer has been seen in New York City at Dixon Place, 3-Legged Dog, The New Victory Theater, Theatre Row, La Mama E.T.C., and MCC Theater; and in San Diego at La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, San Diego Rep, Cygnet, New Village Arts, Lamb’s Players, Intrepid, and Ion Theatre. Following the success of Play/Date, Blake was commissioned by New York University to develop and direct Hall Pass, a new immersive show for high schools featuring short plays and musicals by thirty-five professional playwrights and composers. Hall Pass has since been produced at schools in New York and California and was featured as part of the inaugural Future of Storytelling Festival in 2016.
Blake is currently producing and directing Untold, a new verbatim play examining the mental health crisis in America. It was developed in partnership with multiple San Diego organizations and schools, and is based on over 150 interviews completed in the past year with a range of individuals whose lives have been impacted by mental illness — from therapists and social workers to combat veterans battling PTSD and survivors of suicide. The project was workshopped as part of the International Forum on Ethnodrama and won the Jonathan Dunn-Rankin Award for New Work at the 2017 San Diego International Fringe Festival. Blake is now developing a new verbatim play in partnership with Yalla and Somali Family Services exploring the lives of refugees in San Diego, and has been commissioned to create three new verbatim works in 2018 with support from the California Arts Commission.
Other upcoming projects include Mystifique, a site-specific piece of physical theater based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe; Safa’s Story, a forum theatre play for young audiences exploring racial conflict premiering in 2018; Chasing Fear, a new musical inspired by Turkish folklore written in collaboration with composer Trevor Bachman that will receive a developmental workshop in 2018 at New York Theatre Barn; and Last Night in Town, an immersive production featuring music by singer-songwriter Ben Folds.
As an educator, Blake has designed educational programming for everyone from toddlers to senior citizens for organizations including The New Victory Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, New York University, New Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Tribeca Film Festival, and Invisible Children in Northern Uganda. Blake was on the permanent staff of The New Victory Theater for five years and previously served as the Director of Education and Public Engagement for the San Diego Film Festival & Foundation. Currently, he is facilitating playwriting residencies at City Heights Community Center and Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD), a facility that provides wraparound services for veterans experiencing homelessness and substance abuse. Since the summer of 2016, Blake has worked with residents of VVSD as they develop and write new plays based on their lived experiences. Blake also collaborates with both adult and juvenile detention facilities in San Diego to provide arts-based learning opportunities grounded in reconciliation and trauma-informed practices.
Blake holds a BFA in Film Production and an MA in Educational Theatre, both from New York University.