Oliver Butler on Dads
Oliver Butler is currently directing What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck, as well as playing banjo for a bluegrass band and coaching first graders together with fellow dads.
He is the founder and co-Artistic Director of The Debate Society, a Brooklyn ensemble with which he has co-created and directed nine full-length plays, such as The Light Years at Playwrights Horizons; Jacuzzi at Ars Nova; and Blood Play at Bushwick Starr Theatre and Williamstown’s Under the Radar Festival; all sold-out runs; his work has also been published in Play A Journal of Plays.
Early Life and Education
Oliver Butler spent much of his childhood backstage, alongside his mother who is a professional stage actress. While he enjoyed watching all the action behind-the-scenes and meeting all kinds of interesting people, he never imagined pursuing theatre himself as a career path. Although he dabbled with acting while attending high school (once even landing the lead in a musical), auditioning and not knowing whether or not they would land another gig became increasingly frustrating for Oliver.
He went on to study law at Cambridge, earning a BCL with distinction in 2010. Later that year he earned his PhD at Oxford, researching information law development. Since 2012 he has taught constitutional, administrative and human rights law on BA and BCL courses at Wadham College as a lecturer; additionally he directs plays for The Debate Society such as Jacuzzi (Ars Nova), Blood Play (Bushwick Starr/Under the Radar/Williamstown Theater Festival), Buddy Cop 2 (Ontological-Hysteric Incubator), Christopher Shinn’s An Opening in Time at Hartford Stage Company.
Oliver Butler is an attorney specializing in human rights law. He has worked at several firms, such as Thomson Snell & Passmore. Furthermore, Butler served as a Fellow at Wadham College teaching law classes and providing oversight of student cases at Wadham. Furthermore, Butler has written extensively in civil and political rights law.
At 11 years old, he co-founded the Debate Society with Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen and since has co-created and directed nine full length plays for them, such as The Light Years at Playwrights Horizons; Jacuzzi at Ars Nova this fall; Blood Play, which ran at Bushwick Starr Theatre Company’s Under the Radar Festival; Williamstown Theatre Festival as sold-out runs; as well as others such as Plays from his play list at Ars Nova this past October;
Achievement and Honors
Oliver Butler is one of the founding members of The Debate Society and currently co-artistic director. As director, he has staged several plays throughout New York and beyond, such as Jordan Harrison’s Jacuzzi at Vineyard Theatre and Christopher Shinn’s An Opening in Time at Hartford Stage; for which he earned both Obie Award and Lucille Lortel Award nominations as well as winning both awards himself.
He taught constitutional, administrative and human rights law at Wadham College at Oxford from 2017-2021 concurrent with holding a research fellowship at Bonavero Institute of Human Rights. Additionally, his latest project involves exploring emerging digital rights.
He has served as a judge on the Drama Desk Award committee for over ten years and currently sits on its Board. Additionally, he serves on The Actors Studio’s Board of Directors as an elected member.
Oliver Butler is one of the co-founders of The Debate Society, a devised theatre company based out of Brooklyn, and has participated in many shows with them, such as The Light Years, Jacuzzi and Blood Play (at Bushwick Starr Theatre Festival, Under the Radar Festival and Williamstown Theatre Festival), as well as Buddy Cop 2.
Born and raised in Texas, he exudes the Lone Star attitude with his contagious energy, love of people, and desire to make the world better. He believes in serving his clients first and doing all he can to provide the best experience. Furthermore, he is proud to call himself father/grandfather as he has two biological and four step-children!
Butler earned a significant sum during his professional basketball career. He earned two NBA All-Star selections and won an NBA championship with Dallas Mavericks in 2011. Following retirement, he transitioned into coaching, currently leading Maine Celtics (NBA G League affiliate of Boston Celtics).
Oliver Butler is co-founder and artistic director of The Debate Society, for which he has directed nine full-length plays – including world premieres such as Jordan Harrison’s The Amateurs at Vineyard Theater, Jacuzzi at Ars Nova, Will Eno’s The Open House at Signature Theatre Company (Obie Award for Direction, Lucille Lortel Award). Additionally he directed world premieres of Daniel Goldfarb Legacy at Williamstown Theatre Festival as well as Lally Katz Timeshare in Melbourne.