I confess to being stunned by this news. I have long fulminated that there is not a single female in a decision-making position at ART/Harvard
, and the evidence is in the male-and-gay centered stuff-- plays, directors, number and substantiality of acting roles-- that fill their seasons year after year. I don't know why women buy tickets, except that women are so conditioned to be interested in "people" that they often don't notice when story tellers treat females as not-quite.
The next season is already far more female-friendly than any in memory, and I'll be watching eagerly to see how this goes. I fear, of course, that critics will be hostile, audiences dwindle, and the experiment in inclusivity pronounced a failure. Below is the announcement that went out to the ARt email list:
... exciting news to share with you. Today we named Diane Paulus as our new Artistic Director, the third in our twenty-eight year history. Diane’s relationship with the A.R.T. began over twenty years ago as an undergraduate at Harvard, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. In her words, “I feel my perspective on theatre was shaped by my years attending the A.R.T.” Diane has gone on to direct a distinguished repertoire of work that fuses together the traditional with contemporary and popular culture across a variety of genres, including theatre, opera, rock, musical theatre, and innovative jazz-inflected pieces. Her work has drawn acclaim from remarkably diverse audiences and critics around the world. Diane’s body of work includes:
• The Donkey Show, a disco adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream which ran for six years Off-Broadway and toured internationally
• Another Country, a stage adaptation of the novel by James Baldwin at Riverside Church
• Obie-award winning Eli’s Comin’, featuring the music and lyrics of Laura Nyro
• 40th Anniversary Concert Production of Hair in Central Park for the Public Theatre
• Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, Turn of the Screw, and Cosi Fan Tutte, all for the Chicago Opera Theater
• The upcoming Kiss Me, Kate at the Glimmerglass Opera
Diane has asked me to share this statement with you:
“I am deeply honored to be appointed Artistic Director of the A.R.T. When I was a student at Harvard, there was no question A.R.T. was the most exciting and vibrant theater in America. I am thrilled to build on that legacy, and lead the A.R.T. into the future, creating a home for the next generation of outstanding theatre artists who will redefine and revitalize the meaning of theatre for our society.”
I am both excited and proud to have an artist we helped nurture take the organization into a dynamic new era. Please join me in welcoming Diane into our growing family, and supporting her as she leads us down new artistic paths and reaffirms our dedication to creating the most compelling, thought-provoking theatre in the country.
On behalf of everyone here at the A.R.T., I want to thank you for your support over the past several years. Now more than ever, we need to hear from you! So please let us know your thoughts and feelings as we move forward. And please join us in welcoming Diane back to Cambridge, and in celebrating the start of what promises to be an era of renewed artistic exploration and creativity!
Labels: Artists and Politics, Diane Paulus, woman directors, Women playwrights