NEW YORK CITY: Working Theater has announced that producing artistic director Laura Carbonell Monarque will depart the organization after 20 years, the final two of which she served in her current role. She will join the Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara as their new director of development beginning July 1.
“We are grateful to Laura’s long years of service in the company,” said board member, founding member, and former artistic director Robert Arcaro in a statement, “and honored to have grown alongside her as she navigated us through a time of transition, embracing Working Theater’s mission, and continuing to find new ways to serve working New Yorkers through the arts. We wish her all the best in this new chapter.”
Monarque started as an intern at Working Theater in 2003 under the guidance of longtime leader Mark Plesent. She was named managing director in 2010. As producing artistic director, Monarque launched several new artistic partnerships, reinvigorated community ties as the industry continued to emerge and recover from the pandemic, and established a new collaborative staff structure to best support the organization as it prepares to introduce a new shared leadership approach. She instituted the company’s first open-access Theaterworks! class, enabling anyone who identifies as a working person to access the program regardless of union affiliation, and oversaw the first three years of the company’s newest program, the Mark Plesent Commission Fund, established in honor of Working Theater’s late artistic director, which supports new playwrights who identify as working people.
“We’ve seen so many changes in these past few years,” said Monarque in a statement, “and as I embrace a new change in my life, I have every confidence that Working Theater will thrive in their next phase as we introduce a new shared leadership model.”
Monarque oversaw fundraising and pandemic recovery efforts that further stabilized the company’s financial position, doubling the operating reserve fund to $100,000 in 2022, as the annual operating budget increased to approximately $600,000. Monarque will complete her tenure by curating Working Theater’s 39th Season in 2023-24, which will kick off with workshops of two new plays developed through the Mark Plesent Commission Fund.
Working Theater will launch a national search to find the organization’s next administrative and artistic leaders, who will comprise a new shared leadership structure. The board of directors has formed a search committee who will select the new leadership with input from key organizational stakeholders including artists, funders, and community members. New leadership will be supported by a team of core management staff that includes business manager Kylee Brinkman, marketing and media manager Coryn Carson, and program manager Sanam Hashemi.
Working Theater is an award-winning nonprofit Off-Broadway theatre company dedicated exclusively to creating and producing new American plays for, about, and with working people. The company believes great theatre should not be a privilege or a luxury and aims to make productions relevant, accessible, and affordable to all individuals regardless of geography or socioeconomic status.
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