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Freedome Bradley-Ballentine Appointed Associate Artistic Director of The Old Globe

Freedome Bradley-Ballentine Appointed Associate Artistic Director of The Old Globe

The Old Globe's Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein today announced the appointment of Freedome Bradley-Ballentine as Associate Artistic Director. In addition to his expanded role in the Globe's Artistic Department, Bradley-Ballentine will continue overseeing the Globe's nationally recognized arts engagement programs.

Bradley-Ballentine's official title will be Associate Artistic Director and Director of Arts Engagement. Bradley-Ballentine's previous career as a producer will hold the Globe in good stead as he takes a more central role in programming. He will have a more active voice in the development of new artistic relationships as he introduces exciting artists to the Globe's family, and his aesthetic will have increased influence in season planning and other programming choices. Bradley-Ballentine will continue his work on the senior leadership team of the Globe.

The Globe has two people in the key position of Associate Artistic Director, as Bradley-Ballentine joins Associate Artistic Director Justin Waldman. Waldman has served the Globe brilliantly for nine years as a thinker, leader, and champion of talent. Waldman and Bradley-Ballentine will make a formidable team, complementing and enhancing each other's skillsets.

"At a moment when good news in the American theatre is in short supply, it's a special pleasure to acknowledge the extraordinary gifts and contributions of Freedome Bradley-Ballentine to the Globe and beyond," said Barry Edelstein. "Freedome is a special man: a gifted leader, a profound thinker, and a warm and generous presence. In the five years he's been here, he's made the Globe better in countless ways, to the benefit of San Diego. He has broadened our reach and made theatre matter to our neighbors around our county, forging important relationships with institutions and individuals here even as he has built a nationally recognized practice that is the envy of the field. I'm honored to count him and his beautiful family as dear friends, and I feel fortunate to know that his heart and conscience will help lead the Globe through a challenging time with optimism, integrity, kindness, and good humor. Freedome's talent and creativity inspire his colleagues Katherine Harroff, Justin Waldman, and Jesse Perez, and I congratulate all of them as I look forward to the extraordinary impacts they will make on the Globe for years to come."

Freedome Bradley-Ballentine noted, "James Baldwin once said, 'Fires can't be made with dead embers... enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks.' Over the past five years, it has been easy to be enthusiastic about working at The Old Globe helming the Arts Engagement team. We've developed important partnerships and together created programs that have had a positive impact on a variety of communities. I am as excited now as I was when I walked through the doors the first time. It's a special place filled with passionate people committed to making theatre matter to more people. I'm thrilled to join the leadership team as the Associate Artistic Director (in addition to my prior role). We have an opportunity to create work that values both excellence and relevance, as well as take major strides to make San Diego arts more equitable. I look forward to developing new artistic relationships, not just in San Diego but throughout the United States. I'm honored to join a team dedicated to increasing the value of the work both nationally and locally. Barry is a transformational leader who has broadened the Globe during his tenure. Justin's impact in developing work at the Globe is undeniable. Our recent conversations have been full of vivid dreaming of what's next. I can't wait to share with the world what we've been cooking up! The Globe has an amazing reach and I'm excited to see how fast this car can go!"

Bradley-Ballentine succeeds Travis Lemont Ballenger, who has accepted a position as Producer at Lia Vollack Productions in New York. Ballenger takes a thrilling career step that makes him one of a still too small cohort of significant Black producers on Broadway. This opportunity will allow him to continue the important work he's done throughout his career championing Black artists and stories. Ballenger will join the producing team on the new Broadway show MJ the Musical (the Michael Jackson bio-musical), and he will be part of the Broadway incarnation of the Globe-born musical Almost Famous.

When The Old Globe created its Department of Arts Engagement five years ago and appointed Bradley-Ballentine as Director of Arts Engagement, the goal was to make theatre matter to more people by serving a far wider swath of San Diego. By engaging communities in the theatre's work through participatory theatre making in their own neighborhoods, the Globe vastly increased its impact. Bradley-Ballentine's arrival at the Globe brought transformation with him. A visionary leader and a charismatic individual, he established himself as a local figure and quickly developed a national reputation. He built an acclaimed platform with dozens of new programs, and he reimagined legacy programs that have reached tens of thousands of San Diegans, building positive social connections with economically, geographically, and culturally diverse communities. The Globe partners with numerous community-based organizations, ranging from correctional facilities to homeless shelters to senior centers to veterans organizations to libraries and more. Bradley-Ballentine's particular approach-based in careful and active listening that lets the community tell the Globe what it needs, and puts the Globe in a position of humble public service-is increasingly influential nationally as other theatre companies seek to emulate the Globe's best practices. Bradley-Ballentine also has overseen the expansion of the Globe for All Tour, which brings free, live, professional productions of Shakespeare to underserved and diverse multigenerational audiences in neighborhoods throughout the region. A second annual production was added, which takes a Globe mainstage production and tours it in the San Diego community after its run at the theatre.

This administrative restructuring furthers this work by formally bringing arts engagement to the center of the Globe's artistic life. Bradley-Ballentine has built the Globe's Arts Engagement Department as a thriving team of strong and talented individuals, in particular Katherine Harroff. To support Bradley-Ballentine in his new role, Harroff has been promoted to the position of Associate Director of Arts Engagement. Harroff helped develop the Globe's Community Voices playwriting program in 2012 and has instructed hundreds of adults in the San Diego community and beyond in finding their voices in theatre. Harroff most recently held the position of Arts Engagement Programs Manager, and she has been instrumental in the creation of innovative traditional and online programming that has reached thousands of San Diegans in their neighborhoods and in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bradley-Ballentine continued, "Kate Harroff is a dynamic force to be reckoned with! Over the past few years she has been instrumental in developing many of the cornerstone programs that communities throughout San Diego have come to treasure. She has made a positive impact on dozens of artists who have either discovered or reconnected with their artistry. Most recently she spearheaded the development of our online programs, connecting even more people to the Globe. Kate is a smart, thoughtful, and innovative leader. We have worked closely together, and I look forward to seeing her flourish even further in this new role. I'm so happy, I could burst!"

As part of this restructure, Jesse Perez, Director of Professional Training for The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program, will join the Globe's senior leadership team. Perez's impact on the nationally ranked training program has been transformative since his arrival. His leadership skills will enhance the Globe even as his presence on this team recognizes the contribution of our M.F.A. program to the caliber of the Globe's work, and the impact the Globe makes on the national field through its artist training.

Edelstein continued, "It is essential that the Globe champions the country's most dynamic and deserving theatre leaders as their gifts help us better serve San Diego. As we strive for our institution to better reflect the world in which we live, we celebrate the unique contributions of the leaders involved in these changes here. And as we commit to amplifying voices and communities that have not frequently been seen and heard center stage here, these changes, and in particular this change in Freedome Bradley-Ballentine's role, make the Globe better, richer, and more inspiring."

Freedome Bradley-Ballentine, The Old Globe's first Director of Arts Engagement, has been in San Diego for five years, but his impact on the community has been unforgettable. His work forges social connections with economically, geographically, and culturally diverse communities throughout the county, making the Globe truly accessible for all and facilitating the Globe's commitment of making theatre matter to more people. Since joining the Globe, he has implemented dozens of new in-person and online programs, from Reflecting Shakespeare for people experiencing incarceration, to free Community Voices playwriting workshops, and art collaborations with artists and community called coLAB. Other innovative programs include Word Up!, Bard Basics, Behind the Curtain, Breaking Bread, and the Shakespeare in Prisons Conference 2018. He leads the free Globe for All Tour, which brings professional Shakespeare to underserved and diverse multigenerational audiences in neighborhoods throughout the region. It is now a national model for accessible theatre. On campus, he developed AXIS plaza programs, Pam Farr Summer Shakespeare Studio for teens, and Globe Learning professional development opportunities; he transformed Behind-the-Scenes Tours, Free Student and Senior Matinees, Sensory-Friendly Initiatives, and School in the Park; and he helped start the Technical Center internships and professional development programs. Prior to his arrival in San Diego, Bradley-Ballentine led the theatrical program for SummerStage and the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater in Central Park, both part of CityParks Foundation. He was also Creative Director of Creative Stages Entertainment, developing and producing Off Broadway theatre. He holds an M.F.A. in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College and a B.A. in Education from New York University, and he served in the United States Peace Corps in Ethiopia.

Katherine Harroff has worked with The Old Globe since 2011, when she first originated the Community Voices playwriting workshop. From 2011 to 2014 Harroff instructed and produced short-play workshops and presentations throughout San Diego County. In 2016 she rejoined the Globe and the newly formed Arts Engagement Department under the helm of Freedome Bradley-Ballentine and began managing the Community Voices program as it expanded to new genres of performance development. In 2016 she developed and implemented the coLAB workshop program, an offering that partners communities with professional devising artists, with a culminating goal of producing an original play collaboratively. In 2017 she took over producing the Globe plaza performing arts series AXIS and has since curated over 15 different community-driven events for large Balboa Park-attending audiences. Harroff is also a playwright, director, and performing artist. In her spare time she acts as Artistic Director and Head Playwright for the local community-based theatre company Circle Circle dot dot. In 2019 she was awarded a local playwright commission from The Old Globe.

Jesse Perez is an actor, director, and choreographer/movement director who is currently the Program Director of The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program. He recently directed the program's Twelfth Night. His choreography/movement credits include The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare & Company), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare on the Sound), Steel Magnolias (Trinity Repertory Company), The Luckiest (La Jolla Playhouse), The Great Leap (Atlantic Theater Company), and Jedermann (Salzburg Festival). He has served as company choreographer for The Lake Lucille Chekhov Project since 2003. Perez has also been a guest artist and faculty member at The Juilliard School, where he has choreographed, directed, and taught for the last 12 years. As an actor, he recently appeared in the Globe's Romeo and Juliet directed by Barry Edelstein. His Off Broadway credits include Party People (The Public Theater), The Father and A Doll's House (Theatre for a New Audience), Informed Consent (Primary Stages), Triple Happiness (Second Stage Theater), Barrio Grrrl! (Summer Play Festival), Recent Tragic Events (Playwrights Horizons), In the Penal Colony (Classic Stage Company), Up Against the Wind (New York Theatre Workshop). His opera credits include Lucia di Lammermoor at The Metropolitan Opera, and his regional credits include La Jolla Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Yale Repertory Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre Center, and Goodman Theatre. He was also seen internationally with the Venice Biennale and Salzburg Festival. His television and film credits include "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "The Job," "Life on Mars," American Splendor, and Adopt a Highway.

NOTE: All in-person Globe productions and events have been postponed until further notice; all dates are subject to change. In the meantime, the Globe develops and presents a wide array of free online programs to continue reaching the San Diego community. These include the world premiere of Bill Irwin's In-Zoom, available now on our YouTube channel and our website; On Book: The Old Globe's Shakespeare Reading Group; a free commissioned short-plays project Play At Home; outreach from familiar Globe artists in Act Breaks and Flashbacks; The Old Globe Coloring Book; and Soap It Up with students from The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program. Barry Edelstein continues his hit presentation Thinking Shakespeare Live! and a special ongoing series Thinking Shakespeare Live: Sonnets!

The indefatigable Arts Engagement Department has pivoted several community-based projects online and has created new programs. Included are weekly offerings of Playwrights Unstuck with Globe-commissioned playwrights; The Living Room Play Workshop; collaborative program Word Up!; Community Voices playwriting workshop; and Behind the Curtain and its offshoots, the Spanish-language Detrás del Telón and Behind the Curtain: Technical Assistance forum. Globe to Go videos, a part of School in the Park, are online, as is Reflecting Shakespeare TV, a digital version of the transformative initiative. The popular Pam Farr Summer Shakespeare Studio moves online this year, and is joined by new program Creative Youth Studio.

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