iTheatrics Announces Restructuring, New Focus on Developing Original Works From BIPOC Voices | Playbill

Industry News iTheatrics Announces Restructuring, New Focus on Developing Original Works From BIPOC Voices Best known for adapting Broadway musicals for young performers, the iTheatrics team will now include Director of Education Mary-Catherine Chambliss and producing associate Alex Robertson.
Mary-Catherine Chambliss and Alex Robertson

iTheatrics, best known for developing adaptations of Broadway musicals for young performers and as the creators and producers of the Junior Theater Festivals, has announced an internal restructuring and expanded focus that will see the company developing original works for young performers. The company hopes the initiative will help increase equity and inclusion in arts education, giving schools and local theatres more diverse options of stories and writers to choose from when planning youth theatre productions.

The restructuring includes two new hires: Mary-Catherine Chambliss, who will serve as director of education, and Alex Robertson, who joins as producing associate.

Chambliss joins following her tenure as education director at a number of NYC-area schools, including The Anderson School, Professional Performing Arts School, Simon Baruch Junior High, and Yorkville East Middle School. She is a graduate of Troy University.

"Theatre connects," shares Chambliss. "I teach theatre not to create the next Broadway star, but to help shape and mold the principles that any person will need in life. In the classroom, we witness how a group of young people grow as we tell stories through musicals. We then get to share that growth with the cast, the crew, the parents, the guardians, the families, volunteers, community, and beyond. I have the responsibility to engage with students on their journey as learners and performers, and I have the opportunity to create and develop tools, resources, and connections to help educators in the process of making the world a better place one musical at a time."

Robertson is a recent graduate of the University of Hartford's Hartt School, and is currently associate producer for the upcoming NYC premiere of Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, beginning performances at the New Victory Theater December 10. Robertson also co-produced Fairycakes Off-Broadway.

"Theatre is universal," says Robertson. "As a young producer of color, I have not seen too many people who looked like me making decisions in the entertainment industry, and I want to change that. Students need to know they can have an impact in theatre no matter what career path they choose. I bring a fresh perspective to the creative development department at iTheatrics, and I plan to bring more underrepresented artists’ work to the light."

Robertson and Chambliss performing at JTF, in 2014 and 2009 respectively.

Both Chambliss and Robertson join the company already members of the iTheatrics family—both are alumni of iTheatrics' Junior Theater Festivals, a series of events that see theatre-loving kids nationwide gathering together to perform, hone their craft, and celebrate all things youth theatre.

"iTheatrics’ mission has always been to make the world a better place one musical at a time," says iTheatrics Founder and CEO Timothy Allen McDonald. "Our company-wide restructure and new hires are perfect examples of this goal. We first met Mary-Catherine and Alex when they were theatre kids at our Junior Theater Festival, and now they are an integral part of re-imagining the future of theatre."

The restructuring has also seen promotions for several longtime members of the iTheatrics team, including Susan Fuller, now serving as senior vice president; Lindsay Lupi, now vice president of education; Daniel Mertzlufft now director of creative development; Laura Jo Schuster as editor and director of social media; and Jiana Odland as director of educational programming and DEI advisor. Former education director Marty Johnson will newly serve as director of programming for the Junior Theater Festivals.

PHOTOS: Go Inside the 2020 Junior Theater Festivals

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