PHILADELPHIA: Curio Theatre Company has announced that longtime company member Rich Bradford has taken on the role of co-artistic director, alongside artistic director and co-founder Paul Kuhn, effective immediately. The decision follows deliberations about making a change “from the top down to better serve Curio’s surrounding community,” according to a statement from the company.
“I am overwhelmed with hope and joy about this change at Curio and bringing the full representation of meaningful storytelling about the joys and pains of BIPOCs, LGBTQ, and women’s rights by way of published and also new works,” said Bradford in a statement. “This is very important and close to my heart. Let’s begin the conversation, open up the stage, and give a voice and platform of love, respect, and power.”
Bradford has served in leadership positions with organizations like Iron Age Theatre and Theatre in the X, and he also brings with him years of experience as an actor at Curio and other Philadelphia theatres. In his new role, Bradford said he’s looking forward to working and engaging with local Black playwrights and other BIPOC theatre professionals. Additionally he’s looking forward to telling more stories about the Black experience, putting on plays about the West Philly community, and exploring socially-conscious works with messages that are relevant for today’s society.
The addition of Bradford follows a reckoning with the company’s all-white leadership, according to Kuhn, and consideration for who had previously been excluded from the decision-making process and hiring and whose presence in the room was under threat of erasure.
“When I approached Rich,” said Kuhn in a statement, “I said, ‘I am reaching out to you, I’m being transparent: I want Black leadership in this company. If we had all the resources in the world to do a nationwide search, I’d still want somebody not only with great vision and more social activism, but also somebody deeply entrenched in our theatre family.'”
Added Kuhn in a statement, “Rich always asks these vital questions, outside the box questions. He’s very thoughtful and very intentional with everything he does as an actor. Every choice is discussed, he’s profoundly respectful to everyone in the room, their ideas. He listens, but at the same time, he speaks and makes decisions. His vision has beginning, middle, and end and he’s astounded me.”