SEATTLE: Book-It Repertory has announced Gus Menary as its next artistic director. Menary will start at the company on Jan. 2, 2020, and will work with co-founding artistic directors Jane Jones and Myra Platt over the next eight months. Menary will officially take over leadership in August.
“I am very excited for Gus to be joining us at Book-It,” said managing director Kayti Barnett-O’Brien in a statement. “I am deeply thankful to the incredible legacy Jane and Myra have built over the last 30 years and the amazing community of artists and friends they nurtured. Gus is deeply committed to honoring that history while leading us into an equally bright and impactful second chapter.”
In 2008 Menary co-founded Chicago’s Jackalope Theatre, where he’s served as artistic director for the past five seasons. During his tenure, the company produced 15 professional shows, 75 individual events, and hosted more than 200 guest companies. Menary facilitated more than 40 new plays through Jackalope’s new-play development programs. His directing credits include helming the world premieres of Exit Strategy, Life On Paper and Detective Partner Hero Villain, and his final production with the company will be the world premiere of Justice Hehir’s Night Creatures in May. He has also worked with many Chicago theatre companies including Steppenwolf, American Theatre Company, and Strawdog Theatre Company. Menary was part of a team that helped develop the Chicago Theatre Standards initiative, and he is a founding member of multidisciplinary arts company the Inconvenience, where he served as director of theatre programming. Menary was named one of the Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago by Newcity Magazine in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
“I am in awe of this incredible company and the body of work that they’ve produced over 30 years of building and dreaming and art-making,” said Menary in a statement. “Book-It’s focus on adaptation is, in some ways, brand new to me, but as someone who reads voraciously, it’s a facet of theatremaking that has always greatly interested me. I’m committed to new work and new voices, to new ways of bringing authors’ voices to life, to expanding how we define and think about great works of literature. In a very real way, this opportunity feels like fate. It’s my hope that I’m able to continue Book-It’s streak of artistic excellence and captivating, diverse work that includes and uplifts the voices and stories of many people. I’m extremely excited, and I’m extremely honored that they would place their trust in me.”