PITTSBURGH, PA.: The City Theatre board of directors has announced the elevation of current staff members Clare Drobot and Monte
“The ultimate goal of this restructuring is to adapt and evolve the traditional hierarchy within the professional theatre and ensure a greater multitude of voices and perspectives are empowered in season programming and mission execution,” said City board president Alex Condron in a statement. “Clare, Monteze, and Marc are to share in the artistic decision-making and work closely with our other board report, managing director James McNeel, in living out our vision and values.”
City Theatre publicly responded to the We See You White American Theater Demands
“City Theatre’s choice to move to a shared leadership model is evidence of the ongoing work of its board and staff to bring the best of what is possible to its artists, audiences, and community,” said National New Play Network (NNPN) executive director Nan Barnett in a statement. “National New Play Network is proud to have supported Monteze’s expanding role at City as an NNPN producer in residence, Clare’s growing leadership in the field as we welcome her to our Board, and Marc’s impact on the new American canon. We look forward to sharing the results of this innovative shift with our member theatres across the country.”
Drobot, Freeland, and Masterson will rotate their duties as lead artistic director for a year, serving as the point person for staff and the board for a given season. All three co-artistic leaders will determine programming through consensus. Masterson will start in the lead co-artistic director role for the current 2021-22 season with Drobot following
“I deeply believe in the power of group creativity. That is the power of theatre as an art form,” said Masterson in a statement. “I am excited by the opportunity to collaborate with these excellent artists in realizing an exciting vision for City Theatre.”
“For over a decade, City Theatre Company has served as an artistic home for me, affording me various opportunities for professional and artistic growth,” said Freeland in a statement. “While this leadership model is a change for our staff, artists, audiences, board of directors and donors, it embodies the essence of the principle of Ujima, meaning collective work and responsibility. Arts makers bear a greater responsibility to our communities than ever before, and it will require collective work to break the barriers to equal access and foster an inherent culture of inclusivity.”
“I am so thrilled to join, Monteze, Marc, James, and our wonderful colleagues on the staff and board in shaping the next iteration of City Theatre,” said Drobot in a statement. “The heart of our work is building community through storytelling. By crafting a leadership model that champions consensus, we will be able to expand the voices at our theatrical table, fostering community connections, artistic collaborations, and a bright future for new plays in Pittsburgh.”
During the pandemic City Theatre underwent significant reflection and adaptation, prioritizing equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA) practices and anti-racism principles. In addition to the new leadership structure, the City Theatre staff and board of directors recently released its first anti-racism plan. The organization is also implementing other commitments made in response to the We See You demands, including establishing greater accountability safeguards, feedback opportunities, and 360 reviews from key stakeholders. More information can be found at www.CityTheatreCompany.org/
Drobot joined the City Theatre staff in 2015 as the director of new-play development. A dramaturg, playwright, and producer, Clare has worked in various capacities at Premiere Stages at Kean University, Laura Stanczyk Casting, Williamstown Theatre Festival, the McCarter Theatre, Play Penn, and New Dramatists. Her writing has been seen in Ars Nova’s ANT FEST and the New Hazlett Theatre’s CSA Series. She serves on the boards of the National New Play Network and Brew House Association.
Freeland, a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “Performer of the Year” (2017), has worked at City Theatre in multiple positions, including actor, teaching artist, and box office associate. In 2020, he became a full-time associate producer and was selected as a producer in residence by the National New Play Network. A Baltimore native, his roots in theatre began at the Arena Players before moving to Pittsburgh in 2006 to attend Point Park University (‘09). He has served as producing artistic associate for Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company and director of education for Quantum Theatre Company.
For his part, Masterson returned to City Theatre in 2018 after serving in the same capacity at Actors Theatre of Louisville and at South Coast Repertory Theater in Costa Mesa, Calif. He previously served as City Theatre’s artistic director from 1981 to 2000. In over three decades as an artistic leader, he has produced the world premieres of some of the most produced plays in the American theatre.
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