LOS ANGELES: “I only meant to do it for six months,” said actor/producer Gates McFadden in a statement announcing her departure after five years as artistic director of Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA. During her tenure, McFadden oversaw 12 productions, but most significantly helped open a newly outfitted theatre space, the Atwater Village Theatre.
“Being a producer along with building and running a theatre company in Los Angeles was without a doubt the hardest challenge of my career,” said McFadden, who may be best known for her role as Dr. Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation but who also has a long resume in theatre and dance (she worked as choreographer for Jim Henson in his films The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth). “Artistic directors of nonprofit theatres in L.A. have no time, little money, barely any staff and nowhere near enough grant support. On the positive side, I have a mother’s love for the powerful, vivid productions we created over the last five years. The actors, writers and designers I have been lucky enough to work with at EST/LA have been like a unique, intoxicating perfume whose scent will never leave me.”
Plays produced or directed under McFadden’s leadership include Tree, Mlle God, The House of the Rising Son, House of Gold, The Many Mistresses of Martin Luther King, Belle of Belfast, Rabbit, The Ugly One, Crack Whore Galore, The Fisherman’s Wife, Does Anyone Know What A Pancreas Is? and Land Line.
McFadden’s successor will be announced soon.