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Firehouse Theatre Appoints Joel Bassin Artistic Director

A versatile New York theatre administrator and educator will take the reins of Richmond’s intimate venue.

Joel Bassin (Photo by Esther Ko)
Joel Bassin (Photo by Esther Ko)

RICHMOND, VA.: Firehouse Theatre has found a new fire chief: Joel Bassin has been named producing artistic director, effective January 2015. It’s the third leadership change the theatre has had in three years.

Bassin takes over for Jase Smith, who first joined the Firehouse as an artistic associate in 2007, took over as interim artistic director job in January 2013 and was promoted to artistic director in September of that year.

Smith had taken over the leadership position when Firehouse Theatre founding artistic director Carol Piersol resigned in December 2012, in what she characterized a “forced resignation” by the theatre’s board. She had served at Firehouse for 19 years.

Of his appointment, Bassin is optimistic, saying in a statement, “I’m thrilled to be joining Firehouse Theatre and working with the Richmond community to help lead the theatre towards its bright future.”

Bassin is the current chair of theatre at Hunter College in New York City. He previously served as managing director of the Wooster Group, producing director of Tribeca Performing Arts Center, company manager of Mabou Mines and a theatre producer working with many artists and arts organizations in New York City and around the world.

“Joel comes to us with an amazingly broad background in theatre, having worked across artistic, administrative, educational and technical areas,” said Jo Kennedy, Firehouse Theatre’s board chair, in a statement. “He is a collaborative, team-oriented leader who is ideally suited to lead Firehouse Theatre to continued success.”

Currently in its 21st Season and located in a former Richmond Station House No. 10, Firehouse Theatre primarily produces contemporary plays in its intimate 105-seat space. It develops and puts on at least one world premiere production every season.

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