Intiman Theatre Looks to Future with New Artistic Director and 2012 Festival

News   Intiman Theatre Looks to Future with New Artistic Director and 2012 Festival
The Intiman Theatre, which abruptly shuttered last spring under the weight of financial debt, has announced plans to re-open its doors in 2012 with a four-play summer festival.

Andrew Russell
Andrew Russell

In late August the Intiman enlisted Andrew Russell, a 28-year-old associate producer, as consulting artistic director to help devise a new artistic and fiscal plan to get the Tony Award-winning Seattle theatre back on its feet.

On Nov. 14, the Intiman officially announced Russell as full-time artistic director and released details of his vision for the company's immediate artistic future. The summer festival will incorporate ideas from a cadre of Seattle-based artists and will feature a repertory company of 12 local actors.

Works under consideration for the summer festival include Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet adapted to reflect the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which will be directed by Allison Narver.

Russell will stage a fresh look at Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, which will incorporate choreography by Olivier Wevers. Marya Sea Kaminski will star in the title role.

Also planned are a "new outlandish production" conceived by "It Gets Better" campaign creator and author Dan Savage; as well as a two-act production from director Valerie Curtis-Newton, which will be staged in the Intiman's studio theatre and its courtyard. "During months of engaging artists and audiences on the subject of Intiman's future, one point echoed loud and clear: we must try something new. If we're going to commit to a significant amount of work, not to mention fundraising, Intiman must be fresh, forward thinking, different and worthy of a relaunch," Russell said in a statement.

Among the artists who helped curate ideas for the summer festival are Donald Byrd (choreographer, director), Sheila Daniels (director), Nick Garrison (actor), Jose Gonzales (actor, musician), Yussef el Guindi (playwright), Marya Sea Kaminski (actor, writer, educator), Etta Lillienthal and Ben Zamora (visual and performance design team), Ludovic Morlot (conductor, music director), Michael Place (actor, director, producer), Queer Teen Ensemble Theatre (local theatre program for LGBTQ youth), Tommy Smith (playwright), Richard E.T. White (director, educator) Robertson Witmer and the band "Awesome" (sound designer, band) and Jen Zeyl (designer).

The Intiman is also reshaping its operations and financial picture. Terry Jones has been elected as the new president of Intiman's board of trustees as the company continues to pay down its debt. Click here to read's previous coverage of the Intiman's financial picture.

So far, the Intiman has raised $200,000 of the one million dollar operating budget necessary to produce the 2012 summer festival. None of the 2012 festival plans will go into production until the Intiman has raised all funds or pledges for the season. The company is actively seeking financial support from patrons, audience members and corporate sponsors throughout the Seattle community.

Leaders also state that all Intiman 2011 subscribers will receive complimentary tickets to the 2012 festival. "We owe our subscribers this, and we owe them the opportunity to see what a revitalized Intiman can be," board president Jones said in a statement. "We hope this will excite them enough that they will come back to support us in future years."

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