Theatres might be closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a number of new hires have been announced recently, offering a glimpse at a future with theatre back in the spotlight. Read below to see who's taking on a new role in one of the industry's most unprecedented eras.
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Managing Director, Dramatists Guild of America (New York, New York)
Wilson is promoted to this new role in which he oversees the staff, operations, and systems of the Guild. The producer and playwright joined the organization in 2017 as the director of membership. Earlier in his career, Wilson founded the Blue Rose Stage Company and served as its artistic director for six years before moving to TADA! Youth Theatre. Recently, that experience helped propel the Guild's support of the #Enough: Plays to End Gun Violence campaign. In this new role, he will remain on the Guild’s New Media, Membership, Political Engagement, and DEI committees.
Laurie Toscano, Blair Russell, and Adam Rei Siegel
Board of Directors, New York Theatre Barn (New York, New York)
The Off-Broadway musical development company has added three new members to its board from a variety of backgrounds that connect them to the stage. Laurie Toscano hails from the corporate banking world as a digital and tech executive, but is also a third generation musician who extols the power of musical education.
Slave Play producer Blair Russell is an independent theatre professional whose credits also include the recent Off-Broadway production of Sweeney Todd and the West End production of Gyspy, starring Imelda Staunton. In addition, Blair advises on the development of new plays and musicals at Show Shepherd, a theatrical consulting firm.
Siegel is a co-producer on The Other Side and associate producer on Beyond Babel. He is also an outreach specialist for programs at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, produces the Fire Island Dance and Hudson Valley Dance Festivals, and writes for W42ST Magazine and Broadway Roulette, among other projects.
Executive Director, Theatre Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
After 15 years of professional theatre experience in Pennsylvania, Miller-White joins Theatre Philadelphia as the company seeks significant opportunities for evolution, including a restructuring of the board and the launching of a new strategic plan.
“I’m really looking forward to using this unique moment in time to solidify Theatre Philadelphia as the service organization for theatre in the region and to use that position to lead the way to a more equitable and diverse theatre community,” said the director.
After graduating from Temple University, Miller-White served as the marketing manager of The Painted Bride Art Center for over nine years. She also co-founded Theatre in the X, dedicated to providing free productions in Philadelphia’s Malcolm X Park. In 2012, she was named a Knight Foundation Emerging Leaders Fellow, and the following year won the National Performance Network Wesley V. Montgomery Memorial Mentorship and Leadership Award. Miller-White is also a Philadelphia Arts & Business Council Designing Leadership Program Graduate.
Interim Executive Director, The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (New York, New York)
NYC cultural and community development leader Shoup will run A.R.T./New York starting immediately, coming from Karp Strategies where they were a senior consultant. Prior to Karp, Shoup served as the executive director of Spaceworks, a nonprofit dedicated to developing subsidized workspaces for artists and cultural workers across New Yorrk, with previous stints at Fourth Arts Block, the Invisible Dog Art Center, and Chashama. In addition to serving on several committees and boards, Shoub has an independent development consultancy that works with a variety of community development and cultural services organizations.
The change in leadership comes after Executive Director Virginia P. Louloudes was placed on administrative leave pending an independent investigation into accusations of systemic racism by current and former employees.
Executive Director, BoHo Theatre (Chicago, Illinois)
After first appearing in the Chicago theatre’s production of 110 in the Shade in 2018 and joining as a company member earlier this year, Selemon has been selected to lead the company moving forward.
“Selemon fit every criterion and then some that our board and company sought in this leadership position,” said Artistic Director Stephen Schellhardt. “She thinks creatively and critically and communicates a clear vision for BoHo’s next 15 years. Just as importantly, she is passionate about lifting up minority voices and underrepresented communities and connecting them with BoHo, both onstage and off.”
The theatre artist will focus on fundraising efforts and structural growth while serving the company’s mission by curating events like The Pursuit of Happiness: A BoHo Exploration of Freedom August 28 at 8:30 PM on Facebook.
Artistic Director and joint CEO, Tara Arts (London, U.K.)
After founding Fio in Cardiff, one of Wales’ few Asian, Black and ethnically diverse–led theatre companies, Shayek moves to Wandsworth in London to head up Tara Arts. In his first few weeks, the director plans on speaking with locals, listening to the needs of artists, and establishing a space for debate and action. Shayek’s first piece of work, A Final Farewell, will explore how the people of Wandsworth say goodbye to loved ones lost during COVID-19.
Later this year, Shayek will invite residents to join him on walks across the southwest London borough to share stories and places of interest. He is also inviting artists to join the company’s online forum Tea with Tara as a space to listen to their needs during and after the pandemic, with a particular focus on supporting South Asian artists.
“Tara Arts was born in response to the racist murder of a young man,” said Shayek. “Over 40 years later, in response to yet another murder, we find ourselves asking the same questions about our society, both here in the U.K. and across the world. Historic injustices and the distorting of narratives have led us to a point of unequivocal consensus on the need for change... We will serve our local, national, and global communities, develop new audiences through the work we make, challenge what theatre can be, who is making it, and, most importantly, who has access to it.”