CLEVELAND: After nearly 12 years at Cleveland Play House, nine of those as artistic director, Laura Kepley has announced that she will step down in June. A search for an interim artistic director as a bridge to a permanent replacement is already underway.
Kepley is the ninth artistic director and second woman to hold the executive role at Cleveland Play House. Achievements during her leadership include producing more than 50 productions, including seven world premieres; directing 18 plays, including four world premieres; programming seasons with at least 50 percent female-identifying actors onstage, and with productions led by at least 50 percent female-identifying directors and creative teams; programming the 2020-21 (digital), 2021-22, and 2022-23 seasons, which created opportunities for and centered artists who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color in at least 50 percent of all productions; creating the Director of Artistic Inclusion position and inaugurating the Equitable Artistic Practices team to promote and maintain a joyful, collaborative, inclusive, and anti-racist culture for artistic processes.
In a statement, CPH board chair Anne Marie Warren said, “Laura’s artistic leadership has transformed Cleveland Play House’s reputation. Her inspiration and season planning have been guided by a spirit of innovation, welcoming, and inclusion. We wish her every success in the future.”
Last year, the theatre announced that Collette Appolito Laisure and Anita H. Cook would be theatre’s interim managing director and CFO, respectively; a spokesperson for the theatre told American Theatre that they are still in their positions, which are no longer interim.
Founded in 1915, Cleveland Play House was the first professional regional theatre in the U.S., and won the Regional Theatre Tony in 2015.
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