Art Rotch Steps Down as Artistic Director of Perseverance Theatre
Perseverance Theatre announces that Art Rotch, who has served as the organization's Artistic Director since 2008, and first came to Juneau to work at Perseverance in 1988, will transition out of his role as Artistic Director this summer.A Boston-born New Englander, Art is a graduate of Harvard University and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where he and his wife, Akiko Nishijima Rotch, met while studying theatre. Over the past several years, Akiko has established a career for herself in New York City, as a scenic artist and designer. After lots of commuting, the couple desire to live more closely together where Art can pursue more theatre projects of his own and be closer to his family in New England. "I came to Alaska in 1988 for a year or two to see the place, and stayed for fourteen years before heading to NYU," Rotch reflects. "Later, I returned with Akiko to help Perseverance Theatre for a few years, after the leadership left the organization for new opportunities. I stayed for another decade: Alaska clearly has a strong call on me, but now is the best time in Akiko and my lives for a move to reacquaint myself with my NYU and New England families. Akiko and I will both be ready to return for projects, and I am committed to support the board in its work on the transition. There will always be a place in my heart for Alaska and Perseverance." Through his leadership across 11 seasons, Art brought Perseverance Theatre into its fifth decade of producing professional theatre by and for Alaskans. Perseverance has produced numerous new plays, including five consecutive seasons with world premieres by Alaska Native writers, often directed by and with other creative contributions from indigenous artists; along with American classics such as Of Mice and Men, Chicago, Guys and Dolls, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Our Town, and more. Perseverance was invited to become a Core Member of the National New Play Network, premiering The Arsonists by Jacqueline Goldfinger and Not Medea by Allison Gregory, and being an active participant in developing NNPN's innovative new strategic plan. After commissioning Alaskan playwright Arlitia Jones to adapt A Christmas Carol with Michael Evan Haney, Jones was later invited to premiere her play Summerland at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, under Haney's direction. As part of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's National Playwright Residency Project, Perseverance has hosted Tlingit/ Dena'ina writer Vera Starbard for the past three years, the program's only indigenous playwright. Starbard's new play Devilfish is part of the upcoming 2019-20 season. "On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank Art for his years of leadership," said Joe Bedard, President of the Perseverance Theatre Board of Directors. "We value his innumerable contributions to theatre in Alaska, and his unique vision that charted over a decade of our path as an organization." An interim Artistic Director has been identified and will assume duties in July, and a national search will be conducted for a permanent successor. Look for updates on our website, www.ptalaska.org, in the coming weeks.