Space 55 Appoints New Artistic Director
Space 55 Theatre Ensemble, the innovative voice for performing arts in downtown Phoenix, announces the appointment of producer, director, filmmaker and actor BJ Garrett to the position of Artistic Director.
Garrett was a member of the Space 55 Artistic Ensemble from 2013 to 2017, during which time he appeared in multiple Space 55 productions, including Uncle Vanya, Night of the Chicken, A Bloody Mary Christmas, The Norwegians and Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play. He was the titular character in Space's popular late-night series Captain Jack's Space Attack, and a regular host of 7 Minutes in Heaven and other cabaret-style shows. Garrett also directed the company's perennial A Bloody Mary Christmas on three occasions. In February 2020, he returns to the Space 55 stage to reprise the role of Jay Travers for a fourth time in the popular Night of the Chicken series, written by local playwright Carrie Behrens.
Elsewhere in the Valley, Garrett has acted for Theater Works, Algonquin Theatre Company, Randy Murray Productions, and Ghostlight Theatre. He is currently directing Edward Albee's The Goat at Aside Theatre, which opened on January 3, and he appears in Stage Left Productions' All My Sons in March. He has been nominated for two ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence.
Garrett is also a partner in local film collective Synthetic Human Pictures, whose award-winning short films have been screened at film festivals around the country since 2005.
"BJ Garrett has a deep history with Space 55," says board member Tim Eigo, "but his arrival as Artistic Director is more than a homecoming. He steps into the role with a wealth of experience, in the Valley and beyond. Over the years he has nurtured Space 55's mission and ethos in many ways, but he also has honed his creative viewpoint and broadened his relationships in the wider theater community. We are especially excited by his profound commitment to foster emerging voices and offer innovative, unique performances you can see nowhere else."
Garrett notes his longtime commitment to Space 55 and its mission.
"In the seven years I've been actively contributing to this venue," Garrett says, "I've seen and participated in some of the most diverse, eclectic, ephemeral art I've ever seen in my 20 years of theater. New, controversial, and rarely-seen shows. World premieres of local plays. Cabaret shows. Storytelling. Radio plays. Sketch comedy. Competitive on-stage hot dog-eating. Serial monthly late-night episodic science fiction musical comedies."
In August, Garrett performed at Space 55's Shawnapalooza fundraiser, which for him was a powerful example of the theater's reach.
"After the show, the producer observed that there was nothing else like that event happening anywhere else in the world at that time. That was powerful - and accurate. That's the magic of Space 55. From the accomplished theater veteran to the terrified first-time public speaker, all types of performers have graced our stage to present all kinds of amazing art, and that's what makes this Space special. It's truly 'A Space for Everyone.'"
"I am honored and thrilled to continue that tradition into 2020-2021, which will be Space 55's landmark 15th season."
Garrett succeeds Ashley Naftule, who generously served as Space 55's interim Artistic Director and will continue to serve as Associate Artistic Director. A music journalist who is also a Space 55 Ensemble member, Naftule is a playwright who has written multiple critically acclaimed pieces, including Ear and The First Annual Bookburners Convention. He also is widely published as a poet and has produced countless shows.
Upcoming in Space 55's 2020 season will be The Envelope Play by Beth May (Jan. 10-Feb. 2), Night of the Chicken 3by Carrie Behrens (Feb. 21-March 14), Fade by Tanya Saracho (a co-production with Teatro Bravo) (April 10-26), and Radio-Free Europa by Ashley Naftule (May 15-June 7).
Space 55 is located at 1524 N. 18th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85007. For more information and show times visit www.space55.org.