Emily Mann. (Photo by Matt Pilsner)

Emily Mann Announces Retirement From Helm of McCarter Theatre

The author of ‘Having Our Say’ and ‘Execution of Justice’ will have led the New Jersey theatre for 30 years when she steps down in 2020.

PRINCETON, N.J.: Award-winning playwright and director Emily Mann, who has served as the artistic director and resident playwright of the McCarter Theatre Center since 1990, will retire from both positions following the upcoming 2019-20 season, the theatre announced today. A champion of works by women and people of color, Mann is planning final season, to be unveiled in March, titled “Signature Emily,” a capstone series of plays celebrating diverse and emerging artists that will pay homage to her monumental 30-year tenure at McCarter.

“Three decades ago, McCarter took the brave and bold step of casting a young female artist as its artistic director, long before women writers and directors were widely embraced in American theatre,” said Mann in a statement. “After what has been an extraordinary journey, it is time to pass the torch to the next generation of artistic directors, many of whom I have been privileged to mentor, so that they may impart their own unique signatures at McCarter as I enter a new personal and professional chapter of writing and directing opportunities.”

Reginald M. Browne, interim president of the McCarter board of trustees, said in statement that Mann “ushered in an exceptionally robust artistic period that catapulted McCarter to the world stage. She has been a trailblazing force in shaping the course of American theatre through her focus on diversity and inclusiveness and her passion for nurturing scores of emerging and established artists whose creative expression has challenged convention and enriched our collective community. Her imprint as an agent of change is as inspiring as it is indelible.”

As McCarter’s artistic director and resident playwright, Mann has overseen more than 160 productions, including more than 40 world premieres, creating a home for theatre legends and amplifying the voices of women and people of color. During her tenure, the theatre won the prestigious Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1994, and Emily herself was twice nominated for Tony Awards as a playwright and director. In addition to her directing credits, her play include Having Our Say, adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth; Execution of Justice; Still Life; Annulla, An Autobiography; Greensboro (A Requiem); Meshugah; Mrs. Packard; and Hoodwinked (a Primer on Radical Islamism). Her play Gloria: A Life, a bio-drama based on the life of Gloria Steinem, opened Off-Broadway in October and is still running.

Over the next few months, McCarter’s board of trustees will be formalizing a process for identifying the theatre’s next artistic director, with a commitment to build on Mann’s storied legacy to become an even more vibrant home for artists, audiences, students, trustees, and staff.

McCarter Theatre Center, founded in 1930, has as its mission to create world-class theatre and present the finest artists for the engagement, education, and entertainment of the community.