AMERICAN THEATER | Dámaso Rodríguez leaves his post as artistic director of the artists representative
PORTLAND, ORE: Dámaso Rodríguez has announced that he will be stepping down as Artist repertoire theaterexecutive art director from at the end of the calendar year. Rodríguez will remain in Portland, where he will join Arts consulting group (ACG) as vice-president.
The Artists Rep Board of Directors, along with Executive Director JS May and Managing Director Kisha Jarrett, strive to ensure a smooth transition of artistic leadership. The board will announce succession plans in October and anticipate that Rodríguez will continue to collaborate with Artists Rep as a guest artist beyond his tenure as artistic director.
“By stepping down, I think Artists Rep will have valuable flexibility as they chart the course for the future,” Rodríguez said in a statement. “I’m not leaving Portland and I don’t want to leave the Artists Rep community of artists. I hope to be able to continue to maintain a relationship with the theater as an independent artist and champion of the organization. A periodic and intentional change of direction is best for a regional theater – and at this point in life the change is good for me and my family.
During Rodríguez’s nine-year tenure, Artists Rep joined the League of Resident Theaters (LORT) and produced over 60 productions, including eight world premieres. Highlights of the lineup include the establishment of the Table / Piece / Stage development program for new works; the ArtsHub Organizational Residency Program; the expansion of the Artist-in-Residence program to include nearly 40 artists in all theatrical disciplines; the pandemic backbone to digital media and investment in new creative development processes known as the Mercury Company; and the establishment of the DNA: Oxygen program, which works to transform the company into a theater rooted in anti-racist and anti-bias practices. The pieces developed during his tenure as artistic director have been produced in New York, Chicago, London and across the United States.
Rodríguez’s directing credits for Artists Rep include the five-hour epic world premiere Magellanica (audio drama and play) by EM Lewis, Berlin newspapers (audio drama) by Andrea Stolowitz, The vertical city (audio drama) by Diana Burbano, Today is my birthday (audio drama) by Susan Soon He Stanton; local premieres of An octoron and Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Humans by Stephen Karam, 1984 by George Orwell, adapted by Duncan Macmillan and Robert Icke, The strange defeat of Prudencia Hart by David Greig, Feathers and Teeth by Charise Castro Smith, La Ruta by Isaac Gómez, The skin of our teeth by Thornton Wilder, the American premiere of Dawn King’s Fox seeker, the National New Play Network’s continuing world premiere of Wolf game by Hansol Jung, and the musical world-first at the box office Cuba Libre by Carlos Lacámara, with music by three-time Grammy-nominated Cuban timba group Tiempo Libre.
“He will be missed, along with his artistic vision,” Artists Rep board chairman Pancho Savery said in a statement. “We can only be grateful for the years he has artistically led this organization. As a result of his leadership, Artists Rep was able to create and commission more new works, hire a large number of new artists, and envision new ways of creating during the pandemic. We look forward to the challenge of finding the next leader to continue on this path in the future. “
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