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Artistic Director Aimée Hayes to Leave Southern Rep

Hayes will transition away from the New Orleans company as it gears up for a new collaborative producing model.

NEW ORLEANS: Southern Rep Theatre has announced that producing artistic director Aimée Hayes will be leaving her position in November. Hayes joined Southern Rep as managing director in 2007 before becoming the company’s artistic director in 2008.

“I have learned so much from the colleagues, artists, board, and staff members I have worked with during my time at Southern Rep,” said Hayes in a statement. “Through the years, their unwavering belief in the company helped to support our mainstage and lagniappe seasons and countless additional arts and education programs and initiatives. It is to them that I thank, recognize, and applaud.”

During this transitional period, Hayes will continue to support the company as it moves toward a newly announced collaborative producing model, set to launch in spring 2021. During the pandemic closure, Southern Rep has entered into a collaborative process with local artists and stakeholders, facilitated by Michael Kaiser and the DeVos Institute for Arts Management, with the goal of developing a new in-residence producing model. The new model is set to include Voices in the DarkMélange Dance Company, and the Storyville Collective. The theatre also hopes to address growth opportunities and financial challenges associated with the company’s new venue.

The Southern Rep board will conduct a nationwide search for an interim executive director who will oversee the implementation of this new production model as well as the company’s anti-racism plans, which will come from a committee of current and former board members, staff, and affiliated artists reflecting on ways Southern Rep has been complicit in systemic and structural racism. The interim executive director will also produce the spring season, which will include Southern Rep’s commission Chemin Du Bayou by Pamela Davis-Noland, directed and choreographed by Jarrell Hamilton, and complement offerings of comedy, improv, cabaret, and live music. The Southern Rep board will work with the interim executive director to hire permanent managerial and artistic leadership.

“We are at a great moment of reckoning within our local and national theatre
communities in regards to acknowledging and addressing racial injustices and inequities,” said Hayes in a statement. “While our artistic work has often examined these topics, it is essential for Southern Rep to focus on the structural effects of bias and racism in how we work. I look forward to continuing these difficult and necessary conversations to address hurts and to seek dialogue for healing. I must make a special acknowledgement to the writers I have had the opportunity to work with. Southern Rep’s primary goal is to support New Orleans’s playwrights and let them lead the creative process—their work is truly the legacy of my time here.”

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