Theatres are moving full-steam ahead with their plans to create and develop new art—and that means new team members, with a number of organizations heeding the call for more BIPOC representation in leadership positions. Read below to see who's taking on a new role in one of the industry's most unprecedented eras.
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Artistic Director, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre (San Francisco, California)
After spending more than three decades on the scene in the Bay Area, Hall steps into the leadership role at one of the West Coast’s leading Black theatre companies. She is the first woman to serve as artistic director there. With her appointment, Hall and the theatre introduce The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre Fund for New Black Voices, dedicating resources to supporting rising Black playwrights, directors, choreographers, actors, and theatre makers
“I am thrilled to assume this position now during this dynamic, pivotal moment in our cultural history, as the nation turns its focus to Black lives,” said Hall. “This is an extraordinary opportunity to reach new levels of participation and offer meaningful and compelling works that speak to the Black community’s issues, challenges, dreams, and accomplishments.”
Regina Victor and Justin J. Sacramone
Artistic Director and Associate Artistic Director, Sideshow Theatre Company (Chicago, Illinois)
After recently being named to the company’s ensemble, the theatre artist steps into a leadership position. Victor succeeds Jonathan L. Green, who will step down this fall after serving as artistic director for 13 years. Green will continue to work with the company as an artistic company member. Another recently hired ensemble member, Justin J. Sacramone, has been promoted to associate artistic director.
“Leading a company in this time is a challenge I do not take lightly, but I have been on this collaborative journey with Sideshow for some time now,” says Victor. “As a Black trans leader and the first ensemble member of color in this company, I have been moved by the unquestioning faith and advocacy of the ensemble as they encouraged me to step into this position.”
David C. Howse
Vice President, Emerson College Office of the Arts (Boston, Massachusetts)
After running the Office of the Arts, ArtsEmerson, and HowlRound with David Dower since 2015, Howse will now lead the Office solo and remain executive director of ArtsEmerson.
Dower is stepping down to pursue creative endeavors on the West Coast. “In every long-running show, the director leaves the process after opening night,” said Dower “A little over a year ago, recognizing that ArtsEmerson had ‘opened,’ I understood the moment had come for me to make plans to step aside.”
Steve H. Broadnax III
Resident Director, People’s Light (Malvern, Pennsylvania)
Broadnax has worked extensively in regional theatre for over 20 years and remains head of the MFA acting program at Pennsylvania State University. As resident director at People’s Light, Broadnax will play a key role in artistic decision-making and season planning, as well as direct at least one production per season.
“As a multitalented, multifaceted artist and educator, his ebullient passion for what’s possible is uplifting and radical, especially now,” says People’s Light Producing Director Zak Berkman. “It’s no wonder so many outstanding artists from around the country are eager to work with him again and again.”
Leigh M. Smith
Board of Trustees President, Houston Ballet (Houston, Texas)
A friend of Houston Ballet since 2012, Smith succeeds S. Shawn Stephens as board president, who will continue to shepherd the nonprofit as board chairman. Prior to stepping into this new role, Smith served as the board's vice president of development and vice president of trustee development.
The leader is involved in a number arts organizations across the Houston metro area, including as chair of the Houston Arts Alliance.
Whitney White and Soyica Colbert
Associate Directors, Shakespeare Theatre Company (Washington, D.C.)
Two members of the creative team for The Amen Corner, director White and dramaturg Colbert will work in collaboration with Artistic Director Simon Godwin and the staff on season planning and artistic development for STC. The positions allow the company to extend creative relationships and maintain artistic excellence.
“Finding my own voice as a black female artist has been inextricably linked to directing and interpreting classical work,” said White. “For so long I felt that the realm of the ‘classics’—Shakespeare and beyond—was a closed world that didn’t include me… Now I see working on the classics, both New American stories and the timeless titles that have shaped Western theatre, to be critical. By engaging with this work, we, as a people, can be in dialogue with our many histories, ever–changing present, and possible futures.”
Betsy Wolf Regn and Sarah Braverman Wittwer
Artistic Director and Managing Director, Wolf Performing Arts Center (Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania)
Two founding members of the Wolf PAC are assuming leadership responsibilities at the non-profit focused on children’s theatre. Regn will serve as artistic director with Wittwer taking on the role of managing director. Bobbi Wolf, the organization’s founder, is stepping down as executive director.
“I am humbled to be able to take the dream that I shaped with my mom all those years ago and continue to dedicate my passion to this organization that I believe in so completely,” said Regn.
“Wolf PAC is our family,” added Wittwer. “It profoundly changed my life when I was a student here fifteen years ago, and it continues to have that same impact on me now as an adult dedicated to serving its mission.”
Derrick Spiva Jr.
Artistic Advisor, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Los Angeles, California)
Spiva Jr. has been promoted from artist-educator/composer and now joins Music Director Jaime Martín and Creative Advisor and Composer-In-Residence Ellen Reid on the organization's artistic leadership team. In his new role, he’ll help program concerts, guest artists, and new projects while continuing his education and community outreach work.
“Together we can work to re-imagine a genre that is not only eager to create without limits but is also equally committed to celebrating a society with a plurality of voices and cultures,” says Spiva. The artist began working with LACO during the 2015–2016 season when he was awarded a composer residency and then became the group’s first artist-educator in 2018.
General Counsel, BroadwayHD (New York, New York)
After spending seven years as vice president, associate general counsel at SoulCycle, Inc., Farber will be now responsible for providing guidance on legal matters across all business functions, with a focus on content and distribution at the theatre-oriented streaming service.
“As a lifelong fan of Broadway, theatre, and the arts, I am thrilled to be joining the BroadwayHD team,” said Farber. “I am excited to work closely with this wonderful team on the continued growth of this fantastic service.”
Verve (New York, New York)
Deadline reports the LA-based talent agency has hired literary agent Till to oversee the expansion of the company to its East Coast offices in NYC (official title TBA). The industry verteran’s responsibilities will include building a team to represent clients in the theatre, talent, unscripted and publishing sectors. Till had previously spent 12 years as an agent at CAA.