BALTIMORE: Baltimore Center Stage has named Stephanie Ybarra as its next artistic director. Ybarra currently serves as director of special artistic projects for the Public Theater in New York City. She will transition to Center Stage in October, and join the staff full-time in December. She succeeds Kwame Kwei-Armah, who served in the role for the past seven seasons and became the artistic director of London’s Young Vic Theatre in January.
“Our committee recommended Stephanie to the board from a highly competitive field of candidates,” said search committee chair Beth Falcone in a statement. “Her vision for innovative productions will not only delight our current subscribers but will also attract new audiences, as well.”
Ybarra has been at the Public Theater for six years, first serving as the artistic associate and then director of special artistic projects. She oversees the company’s Mobile Unit and Public Forum programs, and helped lead the Public Mobile Unit national program.
“Stephanie Ybarra is one of the rising stars of the American nonprofit theatre, a leader and a producer who is equally grounded in artistic excellence and a passion for social justice,” said Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis in a statement. “She is a superb choice for Center Stage; Baltimore is lucky to have her. I will miss her terribly here at the Public but am consoled by knowing there’s much work our two theatres can engage in together.”
“Baltimore Center Stage is a foundational institution for the American theatre,” said Ybarra in statement. “It is an honor to help carry its legacy forward as artistic director alongside the board of trustees, incredible staff, and executive director Michael Ross. Serving the Baltimore community and the beautiful state of Maryland with dynamic arts programming is a singular opportunity. And, to say I’m ‘thrilled’ doesn’t do justice to the wellspring of excitement and anticipation I’m feeling right now—I’m standing on some formidable shoulders, and in awe of the view.”