The Alliance Theatre Company in Atlanta has named Susan V. Booth its new artistic director. Booth, the former director of new play development at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre will replace Alliance’s outgoing AD, Kenny Leon.
"I am profoundly eager, willing, and ready to run a theatre," Booth said in a prepared statement. "I cannot imagine a better place to do this than the Alliance."
As reported last week, a thorough executive search for Alliance’s new AD began with the formation of a search committee in September 2000. That process culminated today with the board of directors voting at the Alliance Theatre Company in Atlanta to confirm Booth’s posting. The Alliance said some 75 local residents comprise the board of Atlanta's Alliance Theatre.
After joining the Goodman in 1993, Booth’s theatre projects included Rebecca Gilman’s Spinning into Butter and Regina Taylor’s Oo Bla Dee, which she also directed at the Goodman and at LaJolla Playhouse. Booth was also Goodman’s co-artistic director for Theatre on the Lake in Chicago and was director of the New Plays Lab for Connecticut Repertory Theatre. She served as associate artistic director for four years at Northlight Theatre and as an outreach associate for Wisdom Bridge Theatre. She holds teaching positions at Northwestern University and Chicago Dramatists Workshop, and has taught at DePaul University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College.
Booth’s credits include Alliance Theatre Company productions of Shadowlands, How I Learned to Drive, Beast on the Moon and Spinning into Butter, which begins previews this week. Working with Alliance managing director Gus Stuhlreyer, Booth will help lead the $10 million theatre company. Alliance describes itself as the largest theatre of its kind in the southeast and says that it programs “six plays on the Alliance Stage, three plays on the smaller Hertz Stage, two Alliance Children’s Theatre plays as well as community education programs and extensive community outreach efforts.”
In her statement Booth said she believed “in a true and universal diversification in the voices heard on the stage. Too many theatres have placed non-traditional playwrights and productions into workshops that stop shy of full productions. I look at past ATC programming that has placed the works of Eugene O’Neill and Charles Dickens on the same stage as the works of George Wolfe and Pearl Cleage, and I know the Alliance understands this."
Booth went on to describe regional theatres saying they were not “simply after-the-fact booking houses, but critical partners in the creation of new works for the stage." Outgoing Alliance artistic director Kenny Leon has already announced ATC’s 2001-02 season. Leon will be freelancing as a director for the next year and will be returning to the Alliance later in the 2001-02 season to direct The Wiz.
—By Murdoch McBride