Theatres might be closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a number of new hires have been announced the past few months, 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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Monica L. Williams
Director of Programs and Chief Curator at 651 Arts (Brooklyn, New York)
Williams steps into a newly created role at the Black-led institution, which is currently in the middle building its first permanent home. The position oversees all aspects of 651’s programs and presentations, including a primary role in season planning and line producing, in addition to curating education and humanties-related events.
“It is an incredible honor to now be part of continuing 651’s long and rich legacy of growing Black arts,” said Williams. “Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to amplifying the voices and perspectives of those across the African Diaspora. It is now more important than ever before to meet the challenges of the current moment and sustain and grow institutions like 651 ARTS that are telling our stories.”
651 also welcomes three new members to its Board of Directors: Claude Johnson, Bahia Ramos, and Lise Suino.
Johnny G. Lloyd
Director of Artistic Development at The Tank (New York, New York)
After spending several years as an artistic collaborator at The Tank, Lloyd was tapped for the full-time leadership role by Artistic Director Meghan Finn and Managing Director Danielle King. Lloyd will help develop and produce work at The Tank with an emphasis on uplifting and supporting underrepresented artists and ensuring equity of opportunity for artists of all ethnicities and gender identities, as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ community and disabled artists. This includes creating a new producing mentorship program and developing tools and resources for outreach and professional development for The Tank’s artists.
“So much of my development as a writer and producer I can attribute to The Tank, and I'm excited to pay that forward,” said Lloyd. “I am excited to be working with leaders who know what it's like to simultaneously be artists and administrators, and how the mixture of these two disciplines can create a fertile ground for new ideas, new collaborations and new art.”
Associate Artistic Director at Echo Theater Company (Los Angeles, California)
An Echo Theater Company member for over 10 years, Best has performed, directed, and fight choreographed works presented at the L.A. venue, in addition to co-founding the Directors LAB. As the associate artistic director, the multi-hyphenate will be involved in all decisions regarding season production selection, hiring of artists, and operation management. He will chair artistic staff meetings, as well as oversee and manage both the literary department and the Echo Playwrights LAB while retaining his position as director of the Directors LAB. Best will also direct at least one production per season.
Prior to joining Echo, Best starred in the San Francisco run of Stomp and made history as one of the first motion capture performers presented on the big screen by playing Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars prequel films.
Managing Artistic Director at Centre Stage, (Greenville, South Carolina)
Promoted from associate artistic director in June, Nicholas has worked in various roles at the theatre since 2012, when she worked in the wardrobe department on a production of Hairspray. After three years in the AAD role, she’ll lead the company as they adapt to the new reality set by COVID-19. Nicholas has already launched several virtual performances and a weekly in-person concert series. She inherits the role from Thom Seymour Jr., who stays on at Centre Stage as technical/facilities director.
Chief Diversity Officer at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Belton-Davis will step in for a 10-month appointment focusing on equity, diversity and inclusion strategies, engagement, and communications. The Athena Communications founder will work directly with executive leadership, the board of trustees, and the consulting firm The Kaleidoscope Group to implement new strategies for the theatre.
“We are living through incredible times, and in this moment in history our community is looking for leadership to drive systemic change,” said Belton-Davis. “I applaud Milwaukee Rep for exercising the accountability, courage, and commitment required to achieve equity that truly represents our ideal community. I am committed to working with the team to successfully implement the ED&I work Milwaukee Rep has already begun.”
Managing Director at New London Barn Playhouse (New London, Connecticut)
A staff member since 2015, Cunningham will now lead day-to-day operations and supervise the development, marketing, and business directors. His first appearance at the Barn was as a guest artist in a production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Since then, he’s appeared on stage in several shows and, in 2017, was named director of operations/associate artistic director and company manager.
Penny Daulton, David Gersten, and Rina Saltzman
President, Vice-President, and Secretary-Treasurer, respectively, at Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers (New York, New York)
Penny Daulton, David Gersten, and Rina Saltzman were elected respectively to the positions of president, vice-president, and secretary-treasurer. The three assumed their roles July 16. In addition, Lizbeth Cone was elected as alternate manager to the union’s board of governors.