Bartlett Sher is extending his contract as artistic head of Seattle's Tony Award-winning Intiman Theatre. The agreement will keep Sher at Intiman through its 2009 season.

Bartlett Sher is extending his contract as artistic head of Seattle’s Tony Award-winning Intiman Theatre. The agreement will keep Sher at Intiman through its 2009 season. And he does not rule out future extensions later, despite his rising status as an A-list director in New York and abroad. (Sher received a Tony nomination for his direction of “The Light in the Piazza,” and in 2007, his acclaimed version of Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” for the Metropolitan Opera was broadcast nationwide.)

“Intiman is an extraordinary place, with a really great, smart audience interested in the kind of work I can develop myself, and invite other artists to develop,” Sher said by phone from New York, where he’s directing a Broadway revival of “South Pacific” at Lincoln Center Theatre.

Another consideration? The recent show of financial support for Intiman. The company expects to meet an April 1 fundraising goal of $2.8 million it set last August, to eliminate debt and help underwrite Sher’s artistic agenda.

“I want to be responsible to people who have been very good to us,” he noted, “and reward their confidence in me.”

“Bart is an extraordinary artist,” Intiman board President Susan J. Leavitt said in a press statement. “The entire [board] is thrilled to extend his contract, and to be working so closely with him to set a course for the future.”

Sher has re-upped at a time of administrative transition for Intiman. Longtime manager Laura Penn departed recently for a job in New York, and the board is searching for her replacement. (Kevin Maifeld is serving as Intiman’s interim manager).

After “South Pacific” opens on April 3, Sher plans to return to Seattle and stage a new solo play at Intiman: “Namaste Man,” written and enacted by Andrew Weems. (It runs May 30-June 22.)

But his increasingly bicoastal work life has led Sher and actress wife Kristin Flanders to switch their primary residence from Seattle to New York.

“It’s mainly to spend more time with my daughter Lucia,” Sher said. “I’m in Seattle during the summer, and away a lot in winter. It just makes sense for us to enroll her in school in New York.”

More on Intiman’s 2008 season: 206-269-1900 or www.intiman.org.

Misha Berson: mberson@seattletimes.com