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Emily Jackson and Tyler M. Perry. (Photo by Brian Mihok)

Emily Jackson Named Kitchen Theatre Company Artistic Director

Jackson will take over from interim leader Rachel Lampert as producing artistic director, while her husband, Tyler M. Perry, assumes the role of director of production.

ITHACA, N.Y.: Kitchen Theatre Company (KTC) has announced that Emily Jackson will be their next producing artistic director beginning July 1. In her current capacity as associate producing artistic director, she has worked closely with interim producing artistic director Rachel Lampert to prepare for the transition. Lampert returned to lead the company for its 2023-24 season after having served as artistic director from 1997-2017, and plans to join the board of directors.

“It’s been an extraordinary year and a half for me,” said Lampert in a statement. “One thing that kept me focused was the knowledge that Emily was considering the position. I thank all our patrons and supporters who returned and helped get things moving ahead. I cannot think of a better person than Emily Jackson to lead the theatre and forge its future.”  

Jackson will be joined by her husband, Tyler M. Perry, who will become director of production. The pair met at the Kitchen in 2012 when Jackson was assisting directing and Perry was the lighting designer for Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. They celebrated their wedding at the theatre in 2018 and will move back to Ithaca full-time this July with their two young children, Luma and Rocco, and their two small dogs, Frankie and Stella.

“In early conversations with Rachel and the board, I mentioned that it would be hard to overstate what taking on this role would mean to me personally and professionally,” said Jackson in a statement. “To lead an organization with a 30+ year history of producing excellent work with a diverse group of artists in a community that values ‘important conversations’ is one amazing thing. To do it alongside my husband, as parent-artists, and in a place that has shaped me as a person is an honor. I look forward to the bold, intimate, and engaging plays we will make, to being a part of the thriving arts ecosystem in Ithaca, and to ensuring Kitchen Theatre Company has a sustainable future in the seasons to come.”  

Early in her career, Emily Jackson was an artistic fellow at KTC, and later served as the artistic associate for two seasons. Jackson has directed and performed on the mainstage, managed front-of-house operations, and played integral roles in marketing, development, and season planning. She has a wealth of directing credits and experience developing and producing new works. Most recently, she served as the artistic director of Sanguine Theatre Company. Jackson also worked with Walking on Water Productions in Ithaca to help launch their inaugural new musicals festival.

Tyler M. Perry is an award-winning designer for theatre, television, and live events. His most recent projects included set designs for a national television broadcast, BravoCON Live in Las Vegas, and a brand new television network, Sports Talk on Amazon Prime, as well as a production of Ring of Fire at Florida Repertory Theatre, and a production of tick, tick…BOOM! with Forager Theatre Company. Perry has designed more than 30 productions at Kitchen Theatre Company, including the set, lighting, and projection design for this season’s opening production of Monsters of the American Cinema. His work has been seen at regional and community theatres across the country. Perry is also a teacher and mentor to middle, high school and undergraduate students.

The public will have an opportunity to meet Emily and Tyler at the Kitchen’s Spring Gala: Recipe for the Future on March 30.

Kitchen Theatre Company is a theatre company in Central New York. KTC seeks to create bold theatre within its intimate space that engages community and sparks important conversations. As of 2023, KTC had an approximate budget of $748,000.

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