Downstage announces search for artistic leader
Ellen Close, current Artistic Director, stepped into the role last spring after the departure of Founding Artistic Director Simon Mallett. Ellen was already well known to Downstage’s audiences for her work with the company since 2007 as a producer, performer and creator. This season, she directed the World Premiere of Extremophiles at the High Performance Rodeo, led a partnership with CalgaryCan to create a pilot version of the Bottle Picker Monologues, and is creating a program to assist newcomer theatre artists to transition to working in Calgary. This season also features support of phenomenal work that creates conversation around relevant issues including the sold-out run of Cardiac Theatre's The Listening Room and upcoming presentations of Bears and Minosis Gathers Hope from Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts and Punctuate! Theatre from April 4-7 and Tiny Bear Jaws' production of Miss Katelyn's Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable from May 15-19.
Says Ellen, “My focus has been to prepare our company to welcome in new leadership to complete our transition to the next stage of this dynamic company. We’ve been working to document our history, clarify our ambitious vision, and mobilize resources to take advantage of the many opportunities we've uncovered for greater community impact.”
Says Board President Salimah Kassam, “Our Board has created a new strategic framework that sets Downstage on the leading edge of achieving a social impact through excellent artistic expression. We are deeply grateful for Ellen’s long service and brilliant leadership, and we are ready to launch a rigorous search for a new Artistic Director to begin work in the 2018-19 season.”
Says Ellen, “I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside extraordinary artists, colleagues, funders, donors and of course our incredible audience members over my eleven years at Downstage, to build an artistically vibrant and healthy organization. As we head into our 15th season, I’m excited for Downstage’s future and ready to welcome a new artistic leader who will help us achieve our ambitious vision.”