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A scene from Kneehigh's "Brief Encounter" at the Wallis Center in Feb. 2014. (Photo by Jay L. Clendenin)

Wallis Annenberg Appoints Paul Crewes Its First Artistic Director

A producer from Great Britain’s Kneehigh Theatre will take the helm of the performing arts center that opened in 2013.

Paul Crewes.
Paul Crewes.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF.: The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts announced Thursday that Paul Crewes would take the helm as artistic director, the first in its two-year history. Crewes, whose contract begins Oct. 1, is currently the chief executive and executive producer of Kneehigh Theatre, an internationally recognized company (Tristan and YseultBrief Encounter) located in the United Kingdom.

At Kneehigh, Crewes oversaw artistic and financial management of the company and led a capital campaign to construct the Asylum Tent, a mobile, 750-seat “nomadic theatre space” that launched in 2010. Under his tenure, Kneehigh’s touring productions have been presented at a number of U.S. theatres, including the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the Alley Theatre in Houston, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Crewes’s appointment marks the end of a six-month international search headed by Wallis board chairman Jerry Magnin. “In just two years, the Wallis has risen to a premiere position in L.A.’s lively performing arts landscape, and Paul is the perfect person to guide the Wallis to a new level of prominence,” said Magnin in a statement. “We first worked with Paul when he brought Kneehigh’s Brief Encounter to our stage for our inaugural season in a stunning, first-rate production that combined film with theatre. Even then we knew it was just the beginning of a long-lasting relationship.”

The Wallis, a 70,000-square-foot venue located in the heart of Beverly Hills, has produced or presented more than 100 works of dance, theatre, and music since it first opened its doors in October 2013.

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