TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Announces Artistic Director To Replace Founding AD After 50th Season
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, recipient of the 2019 Tony Award for Regional Theatre, has announced the appointment of Tim Bond as its new Artistic Director. Bond will join the company officially in March 2020, stepping in as Founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley winds down his 50th and final season at the helm of the theatre he created, ending one of the longest tenures in American theatre. Kelley previously announced his retirement at the conclusion of the company's current season in June 2020. Said Bond upon accepting the appointment, "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue Robert Kelley's great work, and to lead this spirited company into its next exciting phase."
With a storied career in theatre spanning more than three decades, Bond has directed award-winning productions nationally and internationally, and earned a national reputation for inclusion and diversity advocacy. He is one of the world's leading interpreters of the works of August Wilson, has enjoyed academic tenure at leading universities, and brings experience as an Artistic Director, Associate Artistic Director, and Producing Artistic Director at leading theatres.
Says TheatreWorks Board of Trustees Chair Roy Johnson, "We are delighted Tim Bond has accepted this position. With his stellar national career at major regional theatres as both an award-winning director and administrator, his tireless promotion of new works, and his extensive commitment to diversity and inclusion, Tim brings an extraordinary blend of experience and expertise. We are confident he will honor the profound legacy of Robert Kelley, ensuring TheatreWorks continues the work Kelley began 50 years ago of presenting art that serves our community and contributes to The National Theatre narrative."
Bond, who holds a B.F.A. in Dramatic Arts from Howard University and an M.F.A. in Directing from the University of Washington, began his career in 1984 with Seattle Group Theatre, where he directed more than 20 productions, including many West Coast and World Premieres, eventually serving from 1991-96 as Artistic Director and curating the company's nationally recognized MultiCultural Playwrights Festival. From 1996 to 2007, Bond was an Associate Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. While there, Bond directed 12 productions and actively promoted equity and inclusion efforts throughout the company, creating the FAIR Program which cultivates the next generation of diverse theatre artists and administrators.
After 11 seasons at OSF, Bond accepted the post of Producing Artistic Director at Syracuse Stage and the Syracuse University Department of Drama, where he remained from 2007 to 2016. During his time in upstate New York he directed 18 plays, produced over 100 plays and musicals, and fostered new partnerships and co-productions between Syracuse Stage and other regional theatres nationally and internationally.
Bond is a frequent interpreter of the late playwright August Wilson with whom he had a deep friendship, and has directed seven of the ten plays in Wilson's remarkable Century Cycle. He also assistant directed (Peter Sellars, director) the World Premiere of John Adam's seminal opera The Death of Klinghoffer, performed at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, Vienna Opera, Opera de Lyon, and Brussels Opera. Bond has also helmed a host of award-winning productions at theatres including The Market Theatre (Johannesburg), The Baxter (Cape Town), The Guthrie (Minneapolis), Milwaukee Rep, The Wilma Theatre (Philadelphia), Arena Stage (D.C.), Geva Theatre (Rochester), Cleveland Play House, Indiana Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, P.C.P.A. (Santa Maria), Arizona Theatre Company, Portland Center Stage, Dallas Theatre Center, and in Seattle at Seattle Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, The Empty Space, Paul Robeson Theatre, and Seattle Children's Theatre. His work as an organizational leader, teacher, and stage director has led him to South Africa, The Republic of the Congo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Uzbekistan, Austria, France, England, and Belgium.
Most recently Bond has served as full Professor at University of Washington's School of Drama, the last two years as Head of the Professional Actor Training Program. He will conclude his tenure there in Spring 2020 after directing Cabaret. Bond is also scheduled to direct The Children by Britain's Lucy Kirkwood at Seattle Repertory Theatre in February, will helm a workshop of a music-filled play written by Idris Goodwin inspired by the imagination of young Jimi Hendrix entitled The Boy Who Kissed the Sky at the Kennedy Center's New Visions/New Voices Festival in May, and will direct Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize winning play Sweat for The Guthrie Theater in July.
Among the recognition his work has received, Bond's January 2019 production of Sweat at Dallas Theatre Center was awarded the Dallas/Fort Worth Critic's Forum Award for Outstanding Direction, while his production of Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu received several Seattle theatre Gregory Award nominations this fall. He has received Backstage West Garland Awards for Outstanding Direction and Syracuse Area Live Theatre (S.A.L.T. Awards) for Outstanding Production and Director of the Year. He has served on the national boards of trustees for both Theatre Communications Group and ASSITEJ: The International Association of Theatre for Children and Young Audiences.
Departing founder Robert Kelley is believed to hold the record for the longest run as Artistic Director at a professional LORT (League of Resident Theatres) regional theatre. Kelley founded TheatreWorks in 1970 and has directed more than 175 of the company's 443 productions. He has overseen its growth from an experimental youth troupe to national status as a fully professional regional theatre, one of the largest in California and part of America's 72-member League of Resident Theatres (LORT). Under Kelley's leadership, TheatreWorks has produced 69 world premieres (he is currently directing the 70th, a world premiere musical of Pride and Prejudice by Tony-nominated composer Paul Gordon) and 170 regional premieres, established a nationally recognized New Works Festival, and created lauded education programs. His 50th and final season was marked with a singular honor last June when the American Theatre Wing presented TheatreWorks with the 2019 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the highest national recognition.
When he announced his upcoming retirement, Kelley said, "I'm healthy, I still love making theatre, and I intend to remain active in support of the company. But I believe the half-century mark is an appropriate moment for TheatreWorks to embrace new leadership to continue our growth into the future." Kelley is tremendously enthusiastic about Bond's appointment, stating, "I don't think the company could have made a better choice. A highly respected, nationally known director, Tim also has the personal qualities and values we have always treasured at TheatreWorks. His past leadership roles make him a perfect match for us and for our community. I am thrilled that TheatreWorks is in such great hands, and confident that Tim will lead the company boldly into its next half-century."
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Executive Director Phil Santora adds, "Our three-year search process involved our Board, staff, and members of the community. Out of the over 100 candidates who initially expressed interest in the position, I can't think of a better individual to carry forward the values of artistic excellence, community, diversity, and a respect for New Work and the role of music in theatre than Tim Bond. He brings an international scope of experience with a commitment to our home community. He is the perfect artistic director for our 51st season and beyond."
Bond comes aboard a theatre in solid shape. The company is on firm financial footing with a committed subscription and donor base, and a substantial endowment. TheatreWorks continues to enjoy the support of the City of Mountain View, where it produces five productions each season, and the City of Palo Alto, where it produces three productions and a nationally acclaimed New Works Festival.
Diversity: From its first production, TheatreWorks has been committed to diversity, innovation, and the confluence of drama and music onstage. TheatreWorks was one of the Bay Area's first proponents of diverse casting, with a mission to showcase artists and works that reflect the diversity of its community. At a time when performers of color were rarely seen on local stages, the company was determined that its productions would be representational of the multi-ethnic Bay Area, a casting practice which eventually became common place here, and throughout regional theatres. Bond is committed to support and further that mission.
New Works: The very popular TheatreWorks New Works Festival and the company's non-public Writers' Retreat program have attracted authors and composers of national stature (Wendy Wasserstein, Beth Henley, Paul Gordon, Marsha Norman, Henry Krieger, Stephen Schwartz, Duncan Sheik, Joe DiPietro, and Andrew Lippa, among many others), providing an artistic home in which America's theatre artists can create new works in a supportive and helpful environment.
National profile: TheatreWorks has contributed significantly to Modern American Theatre, developing dozens of new plays and musicals that have gone on to be produced internationally and around the country. It was at TheatreWorks that Memphis, the 2010 "Best Musical" Tony Award-winner, was first workshopped and received its World Premiere. Memphis went on to a three-year run on Broadway before embarking on a 19-month national tour, followed by an extended run on London's West End where it captured two Olivier Awards. Last season the company presented the world premiere of The Prince of Egypt by composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked), book by Philip LaZebnik (Pocahontas, Mulan), which will receive its West End debut in February.