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Estefanía Fadul and Graeme Gillis. (Photo by JMA Photography.)

Estefanía Fadul, Graeme Gillis Are EST’s New Co-Artistic Directors

After a year-long search process, Fadul joins Gillis, who has been serving as interim artistic director since William Carden stepped down last year.

NEW YORK CITY: Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) has named Estefanía Fadul and Graeme Gillis their new co-artistic directors. Gillis has been serving as interim artistic director since 2022, and Fadul will join the company in March.

“I am so proud to have this brilliant team be at the head of the company,” EST Members Council co-chair Sharina Martin said in a statement. “Representatives from across our entire community were able to weigh in on a process that took the better part of a year. I can truly say that this search reflected the best of EST—a theatre that values community, inclusion, and collaboration.”

“My favorite way of working has always been within ensemble settings, where there is space and time for trust to build, ideas to evolve, risks to be taken, and collaborations to grow. EST is uniquely positioned to be a leader in imagining, experimenting with, and practicing brave and joyful ways of creating,” Fadul said in a statement.

“The animating idea of EST, of a community of artists dedicating themselves to their work, to each other, and to the future of theatre, is just about the most romantic, most inspiring thing I’ve ever heard,” Gillis added. “I feel so lucky today because I get to participate in that.”

Fadul and Gillis’s appointments mark the first co-leadership structure for EST. The two will plan the 2023-24 season together.

Fadul is a Colombian-born, New York-based director and creative producer. Passionate about new works, she has directed multiple world premieres, including Caridad Svich’s adaptation of Eva Luna, based on the novel by Isabel Allende, at Repertorio Español; The Garbologists by Lindsay Joelle at Philadelphia Theatre Company; The Same Day by Stefan Ivanov at Theatre Laboratory Sfumato in Bulgaria; Scissoring by C. Quintana at INTAR Theatre; and the Drama League Award-nominated Carla’s Quince, which she conceived and developed with the Voting Project Ensemble. She has directed works at multiple Off-Broadway theatres and was on the producing team for Soho Rep‘s site-specific show Washateria. Fadul is a member of the leadership circle of the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, the Drama League board of directors, and the Latinx Theatre Commons advisory committee. In 2020, she was the recipient of New York Stage and Film’s Pfaelzer Award. Fadul is a New Georges Affiliated Artist and is a co-producer on the upcoming world premiere of Raquel Almazan’s La Paloma Prisoner. She is a graduate of Vassar College, where she co-founded Idlewild Theatre Ensemble to create and uplift work by women and femme-aligning artists.

Gillis is a Nova Scotia native who previously served as EST’s associate artistic director under the leadership of William Carden, taking over as interim artistic director after Carden’s retirement. With RJ Tolan, Gillis leads the award-winning EST/Youngblood playwrights group (of which he is an alum), fostering dozens of early-career playwrights each year. He also leads the EST/Sloan project with Linsay Firman to foster new plays about science and technology. As a playwright, Gillis has worked with Rattlestick Theater, Cherry Lane Theatre, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival, among others, and his plays have been published by Dramatists Play Service and Applause Books. Gillis teaches Downstage, a production conference that sees students creating their own theatre company, at Sarah Lawrence College. He is a graduate of the University of King’s College and the New School and is a lifelong member of the Actors Studio.

Ensemble Studio Theatre’s mission is to develop and produce original, provocative, and authentic new work. The theatre is known for its biennial Marathon of One-Act Plays, an essential part of the New York theatre scene since it launched in 1977. As of the 2023 fiscal year, EST has a budget of approximately $1.9 million.

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