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Chris Berry. (Photo by Caroline Yang.)

Playwrights Realm Names Chris Berry Executive Director

Berry comes to New York from Minnesota’s Penumbra Theatre.

NEW YORK CITY: The Playwrights Realm has named Chris Berry their new executive director. Berry succeeds Roberta Pereira, who left the role in 2023.

“Chris has a people-centric, value-forward way of looking at the world that is very aligned with the Realm’s way of working,” artistic director Katherine Kovner said in a statement. “With Chris’s track record of putting people first, thinking outside the normal theatre paradigms, and working in racial equity practices, I’m thrilled to see where we can take the Realm together.”

Berry most recently served as the arts director at the Penumbra Center for Racial Healing. He also served as the president of the Black Theatre Network, producing two national conferences during his tenure. Berry is the former director of education and humanities and the program director at the Black Arts Institute at the Billie Holiday Theatre. As a dialect coach, Berry has worked with Signature Theatre and on the television series P-Valley. Berry has taught theatre at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Florida A&M University, and holds a BFA from North Carolina A&T State University and an MFA from Brown University/Trinity Repertory.

“What’s so exciting about this role is the Realm’s vocation to put real bones into its dreams, both for the industry and for artists,” Berry said in a statement. “I’m exhilarated by the process of audacious dreaming and the challenge of finding creative, concrete approaches to giving artists the resources they need to imagine the next chapter of the American theatre.”

The Playwrights Realm is devoted to supporting emerging playwrights throughout their careers, helping them hone their craft, and build meaningful artistic careers. The Realm provides comprehensive support to playwrights through the Realm Playwrights Program, the Scratchpad Series, the Writing Fellowship, the Native American Artists Lab, and the Page One Residency. As of 2022, the organization had a budget of approximately $1 million.

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