*Banner photo of Ellen Close in "My Family and Other Endangered Species" by Ben Laird


Downstage announces NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

After an extensive search, Downstage’s Board of Directors is thrilled to announce Clare Preuss as the next Artistic Director of Downstage.

Clare is an acclaimed multidisciplinary artist who has worked across Canada as well as in Germany, Lebanon, Switzerland, Uganda and the USA. She has strong roots in Alberta: Clare grew up in Lethbridge, got her first acting job at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod and graduated from the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting Program. Companies she has collaborated with include Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, Banff Centre, BeMe Theatre, Blyth Festival, Buddies in Bad Times, Bayimba International Festival, Cahoots Theatre, Driftwood Theatre, Factory Theatre, fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre, FRICTION GROUP, Gwaandak Theatre, Native Earth Performing Arts, New Harlem Productions, Theatre Monnot, National Arts Centre, Nightwood Theatre, Paprika Festival, Paramount Pictures, Ramshackle Theatre, Sony Pictures, Stratford Festival, SummerWorks, Sundown Theatre, Theatre Direct Canada, Theatre Passe Muraille, Why Not Theatre and Young People’s Theatre, among others. Clare is a recipient of the Houselighters of the Citadel Theatre Award and has been nominated for the Pauline McGibbon Award, John Hirsch Director Prize, John Hirsch Director Award and twice for the Gina Wilkinson Award. In addition to her new role at Downstage, Clare is an Associate Artist with Volcano Theatre.

Clare will officially join Downstage on November 1, 2018, after directing the world premiere of Bystander by Wren Brian at Gwaandak Theatre in Whitehorse. “I’m invigorated by Downstage’s fresh approach in creating excellent theatre that engages Calgary’s community in innovative ways, while addressing important social issues. Huge thanks to outgoing Artistic Director Ellen Close, founding Artistic Director Simon Mallett, and Downstage supporters for fostering the growth of this visionary company. I’m excited to return to Alberta as Downstage’s new Artistic Director and look forward to collaborating with a wide variety of local artists, organizations and community members on new leading-edge theatre projects.”

 “It was a bittersweet decision to move on after 11 years with Downstage,” says current Artistic Director Ellen Close, “but our Board’s perceptive choice for our next leader has made it infinitely easier to pass on the reins. Clare is an accomplished, passionate and highly collaborative artist. I truly can’t wait to see the new heights Downstage will reach through her vision.”

Salimah Kassam, Board President, echoes this excitement. “We got to meet incredibly talented artists from across Canada through this search. It’s been very inspiring seeing the depth of innovation alive in political Canadian theatre. With her theatrical acumen and knowledge of social impact, Clare is an ideal choice to lead Downstage into our future. We look forward to welcoming her to our wonderful city and Downstage community in the fall.”