CHESTER, MASS.: Chester Theatre Company (CTC) has named Tara Franklin and James Barry as their new co-producing artistic directors. The couple will succeed Daniel Elihu Kramer after seven seasons in his role as producing artistic director.
“We have both had a deep connection and commitment to this theatre for years,” said Franklin in a statement. “It has given us a place to create thought-provoking work, collaborate with exceptional artists, and connect with our incredible audiences.”
“I could not be prouder to stand beside Tara Franklin as co-producing artistic director of Chester Theatre Company,” added Barry in a statement. “It’s truly a dream come true for me to serve the extraordinary community of artists and audiences that make Chester Theatre Company the singular organization that it is.”
The transition comes as Daniel Elihu Kramer has announced his decision to step down as producing artistic director of CTC. Kramer has announced that he is leaving to focus on his increased responsibilities at Smith College and his work as a freelance theatre artist.
“It’s been a privilege being producing artistic director at Chester Theatre Company,” said Kramer in a statement. “I’ve loved working and creating relationships with our artists, with our audiences, and with our board—and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. We’ve built the theatre’s regional and national profile, and we’ve stabilized and grown the theatre’s financial base. We’ve told compelling contemporary stories full of exceptional performances and launched vital conversations.”
Kramer will direct a show for CTC’s 34th season and will participate in the company’s upcoming tours to Chicago and London.
“After seven years in this role, including the past three seasons guiding Chester Theatre Company through the existential threat of the Covid pandemic,” continued Kramer, “I’m stepping down so that I can bring more of my energy to my work as Chair of Theatre at Smith College, and to my freelance work as a theatre artist. Choosing to step down is much easier knowing that Tara Franklin and James Barry will be stepping into the role of Co-Producing Artistic Directors. They are outstanding artists who are deeply committed to Chester Theatre Company. Artists and audiences alike know and trust them. I’m excited to see where they take this theatre in the years ahead.”
Chester Theatre Company was founded in 1990 by a former artistic director of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, Vincent Dowling. As of 2019, Chester Theatre Company had an annual budget of around $705,000.
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