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Ping Chong with cast members of "Children of War," a 2002 production in the Undesirable Elements series. (Photo by Chris Hartlove)

Ping Chong and Company Announce 3-Year Leadership Transition

The plan begins with founding artistic director Ping Chong and longtime executive director Bruce Allardice stepping down at the end of 2022.

NEW YORK CITY: Ping Chong and Company (PCC) have announced that they will embark on a three-year leadership transition, beginning with the retirement of founding artistic director Ping Chong and longtime executive director Bruce Allardice at the end of this year.

This new vision is supported by $900,000 from the Mellon Foundation, which has provided lead funding for the $1.5 million transition budget. PCC managing director Jane Jung and associate director Sara Zatz, alongside a to-be-announced artistic chair, will lead the organization through the strategic transition plan in collaboration with consulting firm P.S. 314. PCC will also launch a fundraising campaign for the remaining $600,000 needed to achieve the transition plan. The company plans to continue their community program Undesirable Elements. 

In a statement, Jung celebrated Chong and Allardice’s legacy, saying, “The impact of Ping’s singular vision and voice has rippled across so many individuals’ lives and communities in powerful ways, fostering connection, compassion, and understanding across differences. Ping and Bruce made great art together. We can’t wait to carry forth their legacy with a vision to support the next generation of interdisciplinary artists and their works.” 

Added associate director Sara Zatz in a statement, “As we enter into this period of transition and organizational transformation, we have a unique opportunity to center the voices and vision of a new generation of artists forging their own creative paths. Ping Chong and Company has fostered a space that is a truly welcoming home for artists and that creates room for growth and transformation, learning, and evolution.”  

In a statement, Emil Kang, who serves as the program director for arts and culture at the Mellon Foundation, said of the longstanding collaboration between the PCC and the Mellon Foundation, “Ping Chong forged new paths in multidisciplinary art-making and contemporary theatre practice, and his work continues to expand our collective understandings of identity, otherness, and being. His lasting legacy is a testament to his expansive vision, deep intellect, and imagination—all attributes that he holds humbly, generously, and honestly. We are honored to support the next chapter for Ping Chong and Company as they honor the rich legacy of Ping Chong and Bruce Allardice while creating space for a new generation of creators.” 

For 50 years, the Ping Chong Company has produced over 110 original works. The PCC has championed and worked to give a platform to theatre that centers innovation, collaboration, community engagement, and amplifies stories from marginalized communities.  Recently the company has begun adapting work that promotes conversations addressing social justice including works by Johnnie Cruise Mercer, Jaime Sunwoo, Kirya Traber, and Talvin Wilks. 

During the pandemic, the PCC made use of multimedia platforms in the absence of in-person theatre. The theatre continued to provide opportunities for artists with new and previously established programs such as Nocturne in 1200 Seconds, Creative Fellows, and Universal History of Infamy. PCC also recently named its 2022 Creative Fellows: performer and director of live works of art, Nile Harris, and composer, director, improviser, and sound conceptualist JU-EH. 

The Ping Chong Company will also continue the Undesirable Elements series, which includes local community members telling stories of their place, identity, and belonging. The transition will also include a rebranding of the company’s image, which currently identifies with one individual, to a company supporting a generation of interdisciplinary company of artists of color.

About the transition, Ping Chong said in a statement, “What better way to carry the future of creating forward than to support the next generation of artists…It’s such a tough time for the young, especially in how prohibitive New York’s cost of living has become, how different the conditions are here than when I was beginning as an artist…I believe the future belongs to the young people. I will always be an artist, but as I move away from leadership of the company, it’s great to see that we can create a space for them.” 

Founded in New York City in 1975, Ping Chong and Company engages multigenerational interdisciplinary artists to build on and expand a prolific catalogue, at the root of which is Ping Chong and his singular and visionary body of work. The company’s work centers innovation, collaboration, community engagement, and amplifies underrepresented voices. As of 2018, the company’s budget was nearly $1.1 million.

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