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Grey Noise Theatre Co Announces Hector Manuel as New Artistic Director

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Grey Noise Theatre Co Announces Hector Manuel as New Artistic DirectorAward-winning production company Grey Noise Theatre Co. has announced a change in leadership. Co-founder and former Artistic Director J. C. "Jace" Meyer-Crosby will be stepping down immediately to make way for Hector Manuel, notable Rochester theatre performer, educator, and activist.

After performing in NYC as a teenager, Manuel returned to Rochester where he has been seen in as Hedwig in Hedwig & the Angry Inch at the Rochester Fringe Festival, Warren in Ordinary Days and Alfie in Peter in the Starcatchers at Blackfriars Theatre, and Beethoven in Grey Noise Theatre Company's CITY-Best-of-Rochester-winning production of Dog Sees God. Manuel is a teaching artist with OFC Creations and Drama Kids of Rochester and a performance educator with Impact Interactive. In the past he has served on the board of the Greece Performing Arts Society and as a consultant for Rochester Latino Theatre Company. He is dedicated to race- and gender-inclusive casting and storytelling that represents the full breadth of diverse human experiences.

Having performed in a collaborative capacity with Grey Noise, Manuel then went on to serve on their season selection committee and later as their Director of Marketing and Engagement. He has been a force in the development of the company as well as that of the Rochester theatre community as a whole. "I'm so excited to start this new journey and continue the work to uplift marginalized voices and usher in new ways to create safe spaces for all production members," he says.

With regards to the decision to step down, Meyer-Crosby says that Grey Noise was founded with the mission of creating a respectful, person-centered creative practice that allows artists to bring their whole selves to the work. "We quickly realized that for artists of color, bringing their whole selves to the process was always going to be more challenging because of the discrimination they face in this industry and everywhere," he says. In the current social climate, Meyer-Crosby and the management of Grey Noise believe that it is more important than ever for people of color to be able to shape the culture of the spaces they inhabit to be more inclusive. "In this case," Meyer-Crosby says, "It meant stepping down."

Manuel says, "I look forward to building on the foundation Grey Noise has already started, but also really getting to add those layers of nuance that come from being a part of marginalized communities myself." Under his leadership, Grey Noise is currently producing live Zoom readings of plays by Black and indigenous playwrights and preparing for the virtual KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival in September. Their conference event The Diversity Dialogues: BIPOC in ROC Theatre is Wednesday, July 15th.

More information available at the Grey Noise Theatre Co. Facebook page and at greynoisetheatre.org.


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