PORTLAND, ORE.: Dámaso Rodríguez has announced that he will step down as Artists Repertory Theatre‘s executive artistic director at the end of the calendar year. Rodríguez will remain in Portland, where he will join Arts Consulting Group (ACG) as vice president.
Artists Rep’s board of directors, along with executive director J.S. May and managing director Kisha Jarrett, are working to ensure a smooth artistic leadership transition. The board will announce succession plans in October, and anticipate that Rodríguez will continue collaborating with Artists Rep as a guest artist beyond his tenure as artistic director.
“By stepping down, I believe Artists Rep will have valuable flexibility as it charts the course for the future,” said Rodríguez in a statement. “I am not leaving Portland, nor do I wish to leave the Artists Rep community of artists. I hope I can continue to maintain a relationship with the theatre as an independent artist and champion for the organization. Periodic, intentional leadership change is best for a regional theatre—and at this point in life, change is good for me and my family.”
During Rodríguez’s nine-year tenure, Artists Rep joined the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and produced more than 60 productions, including eight world premieres. Programming highlights include the establishment of the new-works development program Table/Room/Stage; the organizational residency program ArtsHub; the expansion of the resident artists program to include nearly 40 artists across theatrical disciplines; the pandemic pivot to digital mediums and investment in new creative development processes known as the Mercury Company; and the establishment of the DNA: Oxygen program, which works to transform the company into a theatre rooted in anti-racist, anti-bias practices. Plays developed during his tenure as artistic director have been produced in New York, Chicago, London, and throughout the U.S.
Rodríguez’s directing credits for Artists Rep include the world premiere of the five-hour epic Magellanica (audio drama and stage play) by E.M. Lewis, The Berlin Diaries (audio drama) by Andrea Stolowitz, The Vertical City (audio drama) by Diana Burbano, Today is My Birthday (audio drama) by Susan Soon He Stanton; local premieres of An Octoroon and Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, The Humans by Stephen Karam, 1984 by George Orwell, adapted by Duncan Macmillan & Robert Icke, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart by David Greig, Feathers and Teeth by Charise Castro Smith, La Ruta by Isaac Gómez, The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, the U.S. premiere of Dawn King’s Foxfinder, the National New Play Network rolling world premiere of Wolf Play by Hansol Jung, and the box-office record-breaking world premiere musical Cuba Libre by Carlos Lacámara, featuring music by three-time Grammy-nominated Cuban timba band Tiempo Libre.
“We will miss him and his artistic vision,” said Artists Rep board chair Pancho Savery in a statement. “We can be nothing but thankful for the years he artistically drove this organization. Because of his leadership, Artists Rep was able to create and commission more new work, hire a slew of new artists, and envisioned new ways of creating during the pandemic. We look forward to the challenge of finding the next leader to continue that pathway into the future.”
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