ATLANTA: Kenny Leon is stepping down from the theatre company that bears his name. The theatre, which he founded with the late Jane Bishop in 2002, will remain Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company after his departure. Jamil Jude has been named as the company’s new artistic director and will succeed Leon beginning in the 2019-20 season.
Leon will become the artistic director emeritus at the end of the 2018-19 season, and will continue working with True Colors, including on the annual August Wilson Monologue Competition. Leon is a Tony-winning director who will next be represented on Broadway with this season’s An American Son. Jude is currently True Colors’ associate artistic director of the company.
“It’s time to engage a younger generation with fresh artistic leadership,” said Leon in a statement. “Since first meeting Jamil, I knew he was the right person to carry the torch for True Colors Theatre Company. Jamil is an inspiring artist and an empowering community leader who has the full support of our great board of directors. True Colors will continue to thrive locally under his leadership as a place where everyone’s story is told.”
Jude is a director, producer, playwright, and dramaturg. He has directed regionally at Olney Theatre in Maryland, Curious Theatre in Denver, and Park Square Theatre in Minneapolis. He is the co-founder of Colored People’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. and The New Griots Festival in Minneapolis.
“Kenny was one of my very first mentors, and taught me that having a career in this industry as a man of color was possible,” said Jude in a statement. “I’m honored that he is entrusting me to carry on his legacy. I’ve never felt so at home as I have in Atlanta and it, in turn, has nurtured my artistic voice and sense of self. There has never been a pasture greener than inside the perimeter for this type of theatre!”
In its 15-year history, True Colors has produced more than 55 plays, including seven world premieres.
*A previous version of this story mistakingly stated that the company’s name would change after Kenny Leon’s departure from the theatre. That has been corrected.