The Seattle Times reports that Russell, who formerly served as associate producer at the Intiman and also created and directed the Seattle-centric theatre work The Thin Place there in 2010, has been hired to help the organization create a feasible production plan for 2012.
According to board chairman Bruce Bradburn, Russell is currently contracted through Oct. 1, but could assume the role of full-time artistic director should his vision for the Intiman appeal to the Seattle Center (the organization's landlord) as well as local arts funders, who can help pay down the current $500,000 deficit.
Russell's immediate artistic plans include gathering Seattle theatre artists together to devise a mini-season, which he described as "financially viable and artistically robust," that can be staged in summer 2012.
"We're returning to the core impulse of what Intiman was at the start — a place created by theatre artists, not run by one godlike director," Russell told the Seattle Times. "We're not alone in questioning the structure of a regional theatre — every city in the country is. We have a chance to do something new, that champions great local artists."
As previously reported, the Intiman is also leasing its stage to local Seattle theatre companies, including Seattle Shakespeare Theatre, to bring in revenue. In February, the Intiman went public with a $1 million deficit. Previous artistic directors included Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher and Kate Whoriskey, who exited her role there in April when the organization laid off its staff in the face of a $1 million deficit.
The Intiman staged the world premieres of The Kentucky Cycle and The Light in the Piazza. It was also the first regional company to stage Tony Kushner's two-part epic Angels in America, after its Broadway debut.