WEST CHESTER, PA.: Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center has named their first artistic director, Carmen Khan. The announcement follows the decision of the center, which opened in 2017, to schedule their first fully produced theatrical season for 2022-23. The season will include Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and the holiday show The Butterfingers Angel, Mary & Joseph, Herod the Nut, & The Slaughter of 12 Hit Carols in a Pear Tree. The 2022-23 season will also see the expansion of Uptown!’s music, dance, comedy, and film programming.
Carmen Khan is a West Chester native and the founder and former artistic and executive director of the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, where she produced over 60 productions. Khan also served as a co-founder of the Laughing Stock Theatre and as the artistic director of the Red Heel Theatre. Khan also works as an actress, voiceover artist, and author. She has appeared in over 40 theatrical productions and is the co-author of a new edition of Shakespeare’s Macbeth titled Macbeth: Moment by Moment. She holds a B.A. in education from the University of London and a M.F.A. in acting from the Catholic University of America.
“We aspire to expand,” said Khan in a statement. “We want our audience to leave every performance feeling the world is a little bigger place than when they came in; to expand the theatre’s reach and relevance and influence in the community; to expand West Chester’s sense of what is possible; what kind of a town we can be. I see Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center as a vibrant arts institution and a hub of community and culture for the region.” She continued by stating her vision to make Uptown! the center of a thriving community of performing artists by becoming a “town commons” for opportunities to expand the theatre’s world view and challenge to grow. In addition to expressing her excitement about this new role, Khan expressed her preparedness for the challenges that lie ahead.
At the top of Khan’s agenda is producing the center’s first season of live theatre and working with the current artists at Uptown! on expanding and evolving the center’s music, comedy, dance and film programming. “We have a lot of exciting ideas in the works,” said Khan in a statement. “We can’t wait to share these artists with our audiences.” As of 2020, the Uptown Entertainment Alliance had a budget of around $888,000.
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