Bond Is Syracuse Stage's New Producing Artistic Director and New Head of S.U. Drama

News   Bond Is Syracuse Stage's New Producing Artistic Director and New Head of S.U. Drama Timothy Bond has been named producing artistic director of Syracuse Stage and the Syracuse University department of drama, effective immediately.

Bond, 48, will be Syracuse Stage's fourth artistic leader in its nearly 35-year history, and its first "producing artistic director" since Arthur Storch held the position from 1974 to 1992. As producing artistic director for both Syracuse Stage and S.U. Drama, Bond "will oversee the valuable nexus between Syracuse Stage and the department, which constitutes a 'teaching hospital' relationship between the two," according to the announcement. Syracuse Stage and S.U. Drama are housed in the Regent Theatre Complex in Syracuse, NY.

"We're restructuring the leadership team to effectively address the current and future growth of Syracuse Stage," stated James R. Smith, chair of Syracuse Stage's board of trustees. "The appointment of Tim Bond is a bold first step in that direction. A separate national search will identify a managing director who will focus on the day-to-day business and operations of Syracuse Stage."

Bond stated, "I look forward to engaging what I know to be the generous Syracuse Stage audience and community. The opportunity to lead a professional theatre as well as a strong university drama program is an exciting chance to develop new work, reach new audiences and infuse the next generation of theatre artists with a firm sense of purpose and professionalism. During the interview process, I sensed a strong interest in further raising the bar artistically, and assuring that the S.U. Drama program has a significant impact in the country through its training efforts. I believe in the power of theatre to be a transformative force in our society. It brings people from diverse backgrounds together under one roof to be engaged in democratic dialogue about important societal and interpersonal concerns in theatrical and entertaining ways."

Among Bond's priorities is to begin the collaborative process of selecting the 2008-09 season — his first at Syracuse Stage. He said he expects "a mix of classical plays, contemporary plays, new plays and plays with music."

He plans to reach out the diverse communities and new and established playwrights. For the past 11 years Bond has served as associate artistic director at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) in Ashland, OR, where he has directed Intimate Apparel, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Topdog/Underdog, The Piano Lesson, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Oo-Bla-Dee, Twelfth Night, El Paso Blue, Tongue of a Bird, Les Blancs, Blues for an Alabama Sky and OSF's current production of Gem of the Ocean.

Previously, Bond served as artistic director of the Seattle Group Theatre, artistic director of the Paul Robeson Theatre, in Seattle also, and director of the Seattle's nationally-recognized MultiCultural Playwrights' Festival, which he co-founded and which supported staged readings and workshop productions of more than 50 plays by American playwrights of color.

Bond is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and a Board member of ASSITEJ/U.S.A., the United States Center for the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People, a national service organization promoting the power of professional theatre for young audiences.

Bond has also directed at The Guthrie, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Cleveland Play House and Indiana Repertory Theatre. In the spring of 2008 Bond will direct Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman for Arena Stage in Washington, DC.

He has been twice the recipient of Backstage West's Garland Award for Outstanding Direction. As a TCG/NEA Directing Fellow (1991), he worked on productions with Peter Sellars, George C. Wolfe and Ping Chong. Bond and his wife, Nancy Lee Seward, have two children, Travis, 15, and Marcea, 6.

Bond holds a BFA from Howard University and an MFA from the University of Washington. He has served on the faculties of the University of Washington and University of Wisconsin, Madison (Lorraine Hansberry Professorship Award). He has been a guest director at Juilliard and Seattle's Cornish Institute.

A focus of Bond's previous artistic leadership has been to promote the work of culturally diverse playwrights, actors and designers. During his tenure at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Bond led initiatives to widen the artistic and social impact of the works of Shakespeare and other classical plays through multicultural casting, diversifying the company's repertoire, and championing diversity in hiring theatre artisans. "As a person of African American, Native American, German and Irish ancestry," said Bond, "I know that the richer the tapestry, the richer the view. When artistically appropriate, Syracuse Stage productions will reflect the diversity of the community we serve."

Bond assumes the positions of producing director, held by James A. Clark, 63, and artistic director, held by Robert Moss, 73, who announced in June 2006 their joint decision to step down.

Clark joined Syracuse Stage in 1976 as managing director and a faculty member in the department of drama. In 1992 Clark was appointed producing director of Syracuse Stage and chair of the drama department when Storch retired as Syracuse Stage's first producing artistic director. Clark will remain to serve as managing director of Syracuse Stage until a separate search identifies a candidate to replace him.

In 1996 after a national search following the departure of Tazewell Thompson, Moss, former artistic director of The Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY, and founder of Playwrights Horizons in New York City, was appointed Syracuse Stage's third artistic director. In his 11 seasons at Syracuse Stage, Moss has directed The Real Thing, Lost in Yonkers, My Fair Lady, Visiting Mr. Green, Crimes of the Heart, Big River, The Wizard of Oz, Hamlet, M. Butterfly, the world premiere of Backsliding in the Promised Land, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Romeo and Juliet, Born Yesterday, Inherit the Wind, You Never Can Tell, A Few Good Men and Angels in America, among others, as well as this past season's Driving Miss Daisy, Spike Heels and The Unexpected Guest. Moss is slated to guest direct Les Liaisons Dangereuses and The Lieutenant of Inishmore in Syracuse Stage's upcoming 35th anniversary season, which he selected.

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Syracuse Stage began in 1974, when Storch, an acclaimed Broadway director, came to Syracuse as chairman of the Syracuse University drama department and producing artistic director of the newly-formed Syracuse Stage. Storch undertook the restructuring of the department and the development of a full professional theatre in Syracuse. During 1974-75 — its first full season — Syracuse Stage presented six plays in what was then called the Experimental Theatre in the Regent Theatre Complex located at the corner of East Genesee Street and Irving Avenue. By 1979, the increase in the number of subscribers necessitated the conversion of the old movie theatre in the complex into the state-of-the-art, intimate and flexible 499-seat John D. Archbold Theatre. Syracuse Stage's current operating budget is $4.5 million.

For more information, visit www.syracusestage.org.