Caleen Sinnette Jennings Named New Artistic Director of The Welders
The Welders-Washington's only playwrights' collective devoted exclusively to developing and producing new work-has named Caleen Sinnette Jennings as their new artistic director. Jennings, who will lead the company through late 2014, succeeds Allyson Currin, who served as the company's artistic director during the development and production of her own critically acclaimed play, The Carolina Layaway Grail.
Over the course of her artistic directorship, Jennings will develop and produce her play, Not Enuf Lifetimes. It will be directed by Psalmayene 24 and is scheduled to open at The Atlas Performing Arts Center in the fall of 2014.
"Having the Welders launched by Ally's beautiful play was a blessing," says Jennings. "I'm going to be doing considerable work on the structure of Not Enuf Lifetimes, and Ally's play was a great lesson in pinpointing and specifying a protagonist's "grail." Her fabulous design team reminded me that some pretty powerful visual and auditory magic can be made in the Atlas' black-box space."
The transitioning of the artistic directorship is integral to The Welders' operating structure. Through early 2016, each member playwright-Jennings, Currin, Bob Bartlett, Renee Calarco, and Gwydion Suilebhan-will serve as the collective's artistic director for six to eight months. Executive and Creative Director Jojo Ruf will provide production and dramaturgical support for all of the playwrights during that time. After their term is complete in 2016, the five playwrights will give The Welders' entire operations to a new generation of playwrights.
"I had no idea how unbelievably rewarding this process would be," Currin says. "I felt so supported and constantly reassured by my fellow artists, and I look forward to paying them all back with unwavering support and hard work for my wonderful new artistic director Caleen. I can't wait to watch her vision blossom into reality. I am so eager to make her experience as powerful and wonderful as mine was."
Jennings agrees. "Having experienced how all we all rallied round Ally reminds me of the amazingly smart and supportive Welders who've got my back throughout the process," she says. "I'm tremendously excited!"