Kenny Leon To Step Down As True Colors Theatre Company's Artistic Director
True Colors Theatre Company has that announced Jamil Jude will take over the role of artistic director for the theater, effective at the beginning of the 2019-20 season from Kenny Leon. A champion of works by new and emerging artists, Jude, who previously served as Associate Artistic Director, is poised to continue the high level of artistic excellence and black classic storytelling for which the theater is known. Co-founder and current Artistic Director Kenny Leon is pleased to pass the torch to Jude and will transition to Artistic Director Emeritus at the end of the 2018-19 season, continuing to oversee the August Wilson Monologue Competition National Finals.
"It's time to engage a younger generation with fresh artistic leadership," said Kenny Leon. "Since first meeting Jamil, I knew he was the right person to carry the torch for True Colors Theatre Company. Jamil is an inspiring artist and an empowering community leader who has the full support of our great board of directors. True Colors will continue to thrive locally under his leadership as a place where everyone's story is told."
Jude is a director, producer, playwright and dramaturg who has dedicated his career to championing new works and is committed to bringing socially relevant art to the community. Jude has helmed regional productions for D.C.-area companies such as Olney Theatre and Forum Theatre, Curious Theatre in Denver, Colorado, Birmingham Children's Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama, as well as various Twin Cities' theater companies, including Park Square Theatre, History Theatre, Freshwater Theatre, Theatre in the Round, Stages Theatre Company, Daleko Arts and Lakeshore Players. He also has an extensive history developing new plays - addition to directing several world premieres and workshops of new plays, Jude previously served as a New Play Producing Fellow at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. His work with the National New Play Network, where he remains an affiliated artist, includes a producing residency at Minneapolis' Mixed Blood Theatre. Jude is a former recipient of the Theatre Communications Group Leadership U grant, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. As a writer, he was awarded a Jerome Many Voices Mentorship at The Playwrights' Center, where he remains an affiliated writer and new play collaborator. His works have been commissioned and produced by CLIMB Theatre and by the D.C. Black Theater Festival and his interest in the fusion of social justice and art drives his work, including co-founding Colored People's Theatre in Washington, D.C. and co-founding The New Griots Festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"Kenny was one of my very first mentors and taught me that having a career in this industry as a man of color was possible," said Jamil Jude. "I'm honored that he is entrusting me to carry on his legacy. I've never felt so at home as I have in Atlanta and it, in turn, has nurtured my artistic voice and sense of self. There has never been a pasture greener than inside the perimeter for this type of theater!"
True Colors Theatre Company, founded by Kenny Leon and the late Jane Bishop in 2002, has become a household name in the Southeast theater scene with a mission to celebrate the rich tradition of Black storytelling while giving voice to bold artists from all cultures. Throughout its first 15 years, True Colors has produced over 55 plays and 41 play readings, including seven world premieres and nine regional premieres, and engaging more than 400,000 adults and adolescents in Atlanta and beyond.