LOS ANGELES: Mark Valdez, executive director of Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET), has announced that he will leave the company in September to pursue a career as a full-time theatre artist. Valdez has been with NET for the last eight years, and was among the organization’s first paid staff members.
“When I first arrived at NET, so much of my time was spent explaining and justifying ensembles and ensemble practice—today it’s just a given,” Valdez said in a statement. “The field has evolved toward ensemble and co-creation, and as the field has grown, so has NET. The organization is strong, the field is robust and vibrant, and the time is right to step aside as NET enters its next phase.”
During his time at NET, Valdez has quadrupled NET’s membership, increased programming and field-wide advocacy efforts, including the NET Travel & Exchange Network (NET/TEN), MicroFest cycles and a new Symposia series, which invites practitioners to explore the intersection of ensembles and colleges/universities.
“We salute Mark, our visionary leader, creative colleague, and boundless enthusiast,” said Laurie McCants, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble member and co-president of NET’s Board of Trustees. “He has helmed us well, imagining, then realizing journeys that took us to so many fascinating places, creating so many vital, abiding connections—artists with communities, artists with artists, communities with communities. He has transformed NET, and transformed the field, with his clarity of intention and rigorous attention to advancing our values of inclusion and knowledge-building. And his ebullient optimism will help to carry us forward as he continues his journey with us as a member.”
Valdez will continue working with NET as a member while he continues his artistic career.
“It’s been a gift to work at the national level, because you see so much: so much dedication, so much good work, so much risk-taking, it’s inspiring,” Valdez said. “As an artist, I’ve been reenergized by my work at NET. I want to take this inspiration and make art. I have new perspectives and insights that I didn’t before, and the only way I know to unpack them is to make art.”