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TheatreFirst Announces New Artistic Director

Going forward T1 will become a pipeline for Artistic Directors who understand the BIPOC experience to create, build and ultimately lead larger institutions.

TheatreFirst Announces New Artistic Director

For too long American Theatre has been centered on white-led hierarchy and storytelling inherent to racist capitalism, but at T1 they strive to make the world they want to see on and off their stages. As announced earlier this season, going forward T1 will become a pipeline for Artistic Directors who understand the BIPOC experience to create, build and ultimately lead larger institutions. The initiative supports a 3.5 year residency for the new leadership, continuously shifting control of the company.

And now, TheatreFIRST has announced their new Artistic Director, Brendan Simon.

Brendan Simon is an award-winning creative and performing artist. He is a proud member of the Actor's Equity Association (AEA) who has dedicated over 25 years to his artistic crafts, and directed and performed on local, regional and national stages. Working for Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre (KPET) since 2001, Brendan is the recipient of Kaiser Permanente's 2017 Community Health Innovator Award for directing and co-devising the company's Resilience Squad programming for high schools. He also co-created RISE UP, a national initiative for educators to foster resilience in school environments despite the adverse childhood experiences and traumas affecting students. Brendan recently began working to transform Educational Theatre's middle school programming to address racism and include messages of equity and social justice.Brendan believes the future of theatre exists at the intersection of joyful activism and the visibility of underrepresented communities. Says Simon, "art has no more important task than amplifying our painful truths, that we may begin to heal ourselves, our communities, our nation, and our world."

The current Artistic Facilitator, Jon Tracy, will finish planning and executing the 20-21 season programming through June 2021. At the same time, Brendan will join as Incoming Artistic Director to develop his own programming for the following three seasons. By June 2021, Jon Tracy will transition to Facilitator, working under Brendan's leadership. Brendan Simon's 21 - 22 season will be announced this May.

Five years ago,TheatreFIRST was reinvented into a theatre lab of community artists dedicated to pioneering new forms of progressive activism. TheatreFIRST is a nationally acclaimed social and economic equity organization that uses the medium of theatre to challenge our world's traditional constructs. Leading with mandates of a minimum two-thirds people of color, half female-identified, and one-third LGBTQIA2+ in all aspects of infrastructure and production, we explore and exhibit the unwavering promise of representation for all.


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