Don-Scott Cooper Joins Le Petit Theatre as Executive Director
Cooper departs American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco where he has served as the general manager of the Bay Area's premier nonprofit theater organization since 2011. He joins Maxwell Williams, who was appointed the Theatre's Artistic Director in 2015 and is currently overseeing his third Mainstage Season.
Cooper has managed more than 100 theater productions in New York and San Francisco throughout his career. A respected theater administrator, he recently managed the construction and renovation of A.C.T.'s Strand Theater, which opened in San Francisco's Central Market neighborhood in 2015. He has also served on the board of Theatre Bay Area since 2013 and is a member of the Board of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT).
"Joining the team at Le Petit Theatre is thrilling to me," said Cooper. "I've loved New Orleans for years, and it's an honor to join such a beloved theatre company, particularly at a time when it is poised for significant growth and increased commitment to the city. I look forward to working with Barbara, Max and the staff. I am very proud to be leading such an important institution in the cultural landscape of New Orleans."
Williams added, "After an extensive national search, I am thrilled that the Board has appointed Don-Scott to be the Executive Director of Le Petit Theatre. Not only because of his extensive experience and record of excellence, but because his deep passion for theater and for New Orleans is immediately palpable. I'm very excited to share the leadership of Le Petit with him. We will work together to initiate new types of programming and partnerships that use the theater space in ways that engage new audiences and the larger theater community, providing unique benefits to the city and the French Quarter."
"Over the past few years, Le Petit Theatre has taken bold moves to ensure sustainable operations. The Board will now focus the Theatre's efforts on expanding its impact. Our goal is to contribute locally, while also becoming a part of the national theater pipeline," Motley stated. "With the hiring of this leadership team Le Petit Theatre is stepping into its next century as a mature professional producer and presenter of excellent classics and newly minted work. Max and Don-Scott are going to bring strategic thinking and fresh ideas to the organization as we head into a very exciting period of growth. "
The national theater pipeline is best expressed by those who are at the receiving end of it.
Jack Viertel is Senior Vice President of Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns and operates five Broadway theaters presenting Kinky Boots, Book of Mormon, Bruce Springsteen on Broadway, Disney's Frozen and Mean Girls. He weighed in this way, "All great theater begins with risk - with faith in new artists and new work. What we see here on Broadway virtually all began with a non-profit theater discovering something new and worthwhile, nurturing it to life and sending it out into the world. So many theaters that began life presenting the tried and true have, in fact stepped up and grown and thrived by making a place for new artists with new things to say. It is how new classics are born. I'm delighted to see a venerable theater like Le Petit hiring the kind of strong leadership that will allow it to join this pipeline to the future of the American theater."
Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré is one of the oldest local theaters in the country. It was established in 1916 and has operated continuously as a producing theater ever since, first as a community theatre, then transforming into the professional theater it is today. For nearly nine decades, the theater has been housed in a historic French Quarter building of the same name. It features a 325-seat house hosting five main stage productions, casting both Equity and Non-Equity performers.
Prior to joining A.C.T. in 2011, Don-Scott Cooper spent ten years in New York working as the general manager at both Second Stage Theatre Company and the Roundabout Theatre Company, where he managed Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Production highlights include the Pulitzer Prize-winning Next to Normal, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award-winning Intimate Apparel, the Tony Award-nominated revival of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, the Tony Award-winning revival of Big River, Anna Deavere Smith's Let Me Down Easy, and the World Premiere theatrical adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns.
During his time at Second Stage, he served on the board of the League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers. He currently administrates ArtShare, A.C.T.'s community space-sharing initiative. He has been on the negotiation committee for numerous collectively bargained union agreements for both LORT and Off-Broadway.
Maxwell Williams was appointed Artistic Director of Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré in March 2015. During his tenure, he has placed a renewed focus on the American South's great playwrights, and building alternative programming to serve Le Petit's expanding audience. Formerly the Associate Artistic Director of Connecticut's Hartford Stage, he has staged plays at several of the nation's leading theatres, and helped to develop world premieres by Horton Foote, Matthew Lopez, Tina Howe, Itamar Moses and David Yazbeck, Tennessee Williams, and many others.