LOS ANGELES: East West Players has announced that Snehal Desai will be its new artistic director. He takes over for Tim Dang, who has led the organization since 1993. EWP focuses on Asian-American work and is the oldest continually operating theatre of color in the country. Desai will start in the position on Friday, July 1.
Desai first joined EWP’s staff in 2013 and served as an artistic associate and literary manager before assuming the role of associate artistic director. His directing credits at the theatre include A Nice Indian Boy and The Who’s Tommy. He has also directed at the Old Globe in San Diego and the Old Vic in London. He was also featured in American Theatre‘s “20 Theatre Workers You Should Know” in 2015.
“I am deeply humbled and thrilled to be East West Players’s next artistic director,” said Desai in a statement. “EWP has proven time and time again that it is a leader in the American theatrical landscape and that the status quo is not enough. We must keep working to provide artists of color the opportunities and visibility they deserve. Under Tim’s extraordinary 23-year tenure, EWP has consistently demonstrated this with the rich and diverse range of work it has produced. I am grateful for his guidance and example.”
One of Desai’s first tasks in the position will be programming the 2017-18 season. Dang will serve in an advisory capacity during this transition period.
“Since I met Snehal in 2011, aside from his artistic gifts and his producing skills, I recognized a charm and diplomacy in his leadership,” said Dang in a statement. “Snehal’s extensive involvement in his career developing more than 200 new plays, the vast majority by artists of color, has allowed him to hone an artistic style and voice that is focused on diversity, inclusion, community building, and social justice. I look forward to his and EWP’s growth and stature in the coming years.”