NEW YORK CITY: Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre and the publisher of American Theatre, has announced that Teresa Eyring, TCG’s executive director and CEO, will depart at the end of her contract term in June of 2024. Eyring joined TCG as executive director in 2007, after 20 years of leading theatres across the U.S., becoming the first woman to hold the position. Under her leadership, TCG forged a new mission—to lead for a just and thriving theatre ecology—as well as a vision of “a better world for theatre, and a better world because of theatre.”
Eyring began at TCG not long before the subprime mortgage crisis fueled a massive downturn in the economy. To keep the field in regular communication and to share challenges and solutions, she began a Weekly Briefing to the field which continues to this day. Eyring led TCG through three strategic plans: the 2007 plan that paved the way for TCG to support the field in navigating the economic crisis of 2008 and the opportunities of emerging technologies; the 2011 plan, which birthed TCG’s Audience (R)Evolution program and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Initiative; and the 2020 plan, which prioritizes exceptional workplace culture, programming that centers historically marginalized theatremakers and organizations, a decentralized governance structure, and a focus on capitalization and new income streams for TCG.
During her tenure, her responsive leadership helped the field navigate the Great Recession, the COVID-19 pandemic, the #MeToo movement, and uprisings for racial justice. Eyring also championed a global vision for theatre, expanding TCG’s international programs and fostering relationships across borders. She currently serves on the executive council of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) worldwide as vice president for the Americas.
“It has been my absolute honor to work with TCG’s staff, board, and the field over these tumultuous years of challenge and opportunity,” said Eyring in a statement. “In that time, I’ve come to appreciate the extraordinary diversity and vitality of our interdependent theatre ecology. There is no single narrative that could possibly encompass the abundance of our field nor the resilience of those who lead it. That leadership comes from many places: from artistic and managing leaders, from trustees and artists, from teachers and students, from staff and freelance theatre workers, and from everyone who continues to call the theatre home. We are truly blessed with wide-ranging artistry that underscores the invaluable connection between theatres and their communities.”
“Teresa Eyring’s vision of a world better for theatre and because of theatre—and the hard work of staff under Ms. Eyring’s leadership—positioned TCG to become a pioneer of some of the most contemporarily relevant cultural shifts in our field,” said Nikkole Salter, TCG’s outgoing board chair, in a statement. “Ms. Eyring’s risk-taking and bold ethical stance laid the groundwork for opportunities even amid what some might call the toughest field landscape of our generation. It was her work with the board and commitment to core values that shaped TCG’s new mission—a mission that will no doubt stand, as Ms. Eyring’s legacy and leave an indelible mark on the theatre ecology for years to come.”
Founded in 1961, TCG is made up of several core business areas: networking and knowledge building among theatre people, including convenings, research, federal advocacy, knowledge-sharing, and next-generation mentorship; publishing, including TCG Books, the largest independent trade publisher of dramatic literature in North America, American Theatre magazine, and ARTSEARCH, an invaluable resource for employers and job seekers; and grantmaking, including longstanding partnerships with foundations and corporations to identify needs and distribute funding into the field. In all of its work, TCG focuses on building a more equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist theatre ecology.
During the span of Eyring’s leadership from 2007-2024, TCG’s accomplishments include:
- An historic level of federal relief for theatres during the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Rapid response programming during the worst of COVID-19;
- Programming that centers BIPOC and BITOC, including THRIVE!, the Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project, SPARK Leadership Program, and Rising Leaders of Color;
- National audience-building programming, such as Free Night of Theater, Audience (R)Evolution, and the current Working Groups on Audiences;
- Publishing works that garnered a total of 20 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama, as well as the early digitization of TCG’s booklist;
- Ongoing field research through Theatre Facts, the Salary Survey, and special reports on budgeting, audiences, leadership transitions, and more;
- Anti-racist and anti-oppression training, including the EDI Institute and #WeSeeYouWAT working group;
- A board-approved policy shift to enable American Theatre to pursue investigative stories;
- Convenings focused on capitalization and governance;
- Increased international programming, including the development of the Global Theatre Initiative with Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics; and
- Climate action summits and monthly meetings for theatremakers, supporting TCG staff in their conviction that this issue must be acted upon in the theatre field.
TCG has retained Creative Evolutions to begin a succession and search process immediately. Founded by Calida Jones and Doug Clayton, Creative Evolutions is ”a human-centered adaptive ecosystem that creates actionable solutions for creative individuals and organizations.” They are committed to centering humanity in their executive search process. Said Jones in a statement, “This is a pivotal moment for the field. Our arts colleagues near and far have cried out for help, for leadership, and for respect and dignity. We hear them and see them and are working in real time to activate change and support each other in deeply meaningful and intentional ways. We are committed to partner closely with everyone at TCG to move through this transition in ways that prioritize the dignity and honor of our colleagues as human beings, and to open doors for new pathways for the entire theatre community in this new era.”
Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, strives to lead for a just and thriving theatre ecology. As of 2022, its budget was around $7 million.
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