SAN DIEGO: The Old Globe artistic director Barry Edelstein has announced the appointment of Freedome Bradley-Ballentine as associate artistic director. Bradley-Ballentine will also continue as director of arts engagement, a position he has held for five years.
Bradley-Ballentine succeeds Travis LeMont Ballenger, who has accepted a position as producer at Lia Vollack Productions in New York City. The Old Globe has two associate artistic directors, and Bradley-Ballentine will collaborate with the other associated AD, Justin Waldman, in this role. To support this staffing transition, Katherine Harroff has been promoted to the position of associate director of arts engagement, and Jesse Perez, director of professional training for the Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program, will join the Globe’s senior leadership team.
“At a moment when good news in the American theatre is in short supply, it’s a special pleasure to acknowledge the extraordinary gifts and contributions of Freedome Bradley-Ballentine to the Globe and beyond,” said Edelstein in a statement. “Freedome is a special man: a gifted leader, a profound thinker, and a warm and generous presence. In the five years he’s been here, he’s made the Globe better in countless ways, to the benefit of San Diego. He has broadened our reach and made theatre matter to our neighbors around our county, forging important relationships with institutions and individuals here even as he has built a nationally recognized practice that is the envy of the field. I’m honored to count him and his beautiful family as dear friends, and I feel fortunate to know that his heart and conscience will help lead the Globe through a challenging time with optimism, integrity, kindness, and good humor. Freedome’s talent and creativity inspire his colleagues Katherine Harroff, Justin Waldman, and Jesse Perez, and I congratulate all of them as I look forward to the extraordinary impacts they will make on the Globe for years to come.”
Bradley-Ballentine is the Old Globe’s first director of arts engagement. His work forges social connections with economically, geographically, and culturally diverse communities throughout the county, making the Globe truly accessible for all and facilitating the Globe’s commitment of making theatre matter to more people. Since joining the Globe, he has implemented dozens of new in-person and online programs, from Reflecting Shakespeare for people experiencing incarceration, to free Community Voices playwriting workshops, and art collaborations with artists and community called coLAB. Other innovative programs include Word Up!, Bard Basics, Behind the Curtain, Breaking Bread, and the Shakespeare in Prisons Conference 2018. He leads the free Globe for All Tour, which brings professional Shakespeare to underserved and diverse multigenerational audiences in neighborhoods throughout the region. It is now a national model for accessible theatre. On campus, he developed AXIS plaza programs, Pam Farr Summer Shakespeare Studio for teens, and Globe Learning professional development opportunities; he transformed Behind-the-Scenes Tours, Free Student and Senior Matinees, Sensory-Friendly Initiatives, and School in the Park; and he helped start the Technical Center internships and professional development programs. Before arriving in San Diego, Bradley-Ballentine led the theatrical program for SummerStage and the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater in Central Park, both part of CityParks Foundation. He was also creative director of Creative Stages Entertainment, developing and producing Off Broadway theatre. He holds an M.F.A. in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College and a B.A. in Education from New York University, and he served in the United States Peace Corps in Ethiopia.
“James Baldwin once said, ‘Fires can’t be made with dead embers… enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks,'” said Bradley-Ballentine in a statement. “Over the past five years, it has been easy to be enthusiastic about working at the Old Globe helming the arts engagement team. We’ve developed important partnerships and together created programs that have had a positive impact on a variety of communities. I am as excited now as I was when I walked through the doors the first time. It’s a special place filled with passionate people committed to making theatre matter to more people. I’m thrilled to join the leadership team as the associate artistic director (in addition to my prior role). We have an opportunity to create work that values both excellence and relevance, as well as take major strides to make San Diego arts more equitable. I look forward to developing new artistic relationships, not just in San Diego but throughout the United States. I’m honored to join a team dedicated to increasing the value of the work both nationally and locally. Barry is a transformational leader who has broadened the Globe during his tenure. Justin’s impact in developing work at the Globe is undeniable. Our recent conversations have been full of vivid dreaming of what’s next. I can’t wait to share with the world what we’ve been cooking up! The Globe has an amazing reach and I’m excited to see how fast this car can go!”