Dámaso Rodríguez Named as Seattle Rep's New Artistic Director

Introducing the theater's incoming artistic director.

By: Jul. 25, 2023
Dámaso Rodríguez Named as Seattle Rep's New Artistic Director
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Following a national search, Seattle Rep has named Dámaso Rodríguez as its next Artistic Director, effective July 31. From the rehearsal room to the board room, Dámaso has more than two decades of vision and experience at all levels of artistic leadership, including nine years as the head of another Pacific Northwest mainstay, Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, Oregon. He also brings an impressive track record of producing classic works while commissioning and developing new plays that have captured the imagination of audiences across the nation.  

Chair of Seattle Rep’s Board of Trustees and Co-Chair of the Search Committee Jarvis Bowerssaid, “In selecting Dámaso, Seattle Rep not only benefits from his impressive record of creative productions, but also his commitment to engaging the full Seattle community in Seattle Rep’s vision of ‘theater at the heart of public life.’ He stood out among a robust slate of talented national candidates, which to me speaks to the quality of Seattle Rep’s work, as well as excitement about Seattle’s ever-growing cultural landscape.”

Rodríguez has produced and directed a broad range of new and classic plays at some of the country’s most prominent regional theaters. In 2023, plays developed during Rodríguez’s tenure at Artists Rep opened on Broadway (The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa FastHorse), Off-Broadway (Wolf Play by Hansol Jung), and in a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere (American Fast by Kareem Fahmy).

Dámaso is a Co-Founder of Los Angeles' Furious Theatre, “one of the fastest-rising ensembles in L.A. stage history” (LA Stage Magazine), where he served for 11 years as Co-Artistic Director. He spent eight seasons in residence at The Pasadena Playhouse, where he served as Associate Artistic Director to Sheldon Epps, followed by nine seasons as Artistic Director of Artists Rep. He has spent the past two years as Vice President of Arts Consulting Group, advising theaters across the U.S. on strategic planning and special projects, and developing a valuable national perspective on producing in a post-COVID environment.

Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez said, "I am honored to be joining Seattle Rep and building upon its storied, vibrant, and vital legacy. Seattle Rep's boldly stated vision of ‘theater at the heart of public life’ is exhilarating in its simplicity, ambition, and absolute necessity. I look forward to collaborating with Managing Director Jeffrey Herrmann, the staff, board, patrons, partners, volunteers, and Seattle's extraordinary theater community to devise Seattle Rep's next chapter."

Managing Director Jeffrey Herrmann said, “As we look ahead to our 60th birthday this fall, I am delighted to welcome Dámaso to Seattle Rep and partner with him to lead the Theater into its next sixty years of activity. All across the country, this is a time of significant upheaval but also tremendous opportunity for the performing arts, and I believe Dámaso’s artistic vision, deep commitment to community, and his personal integrity are precisely what we need at this moment of change. I am so excited for Seattle artists and audiences to get to know Dámaso, and I can’t wait for us to get started.”

Dámaso was selected to lead Seattle Rep following a national search prompted by the departure of former Artistic Director Braden Abraham in January 2023. Karen Fletcher, President of the Board of Trustees and Co-Chair of the Search Committee, said, “We engaged in a thoughtful, collaborative search process that included input from artists, community members, and staff, resulting in the selection of a candidate who is committed to engaging the entire Seattle community.” 

While Seattle Rep’s 2023/24 Season has been set, audiences will begin to see the impact of Dámaso’s vision in the Theater’s artistic programming, arts engagement efforts, and new play activities in the year ahead, and his leadership will be key in curating the shows on stage for 2024/25 and beyond.

ABOUT DÁMASO RODRÍGUEZ

Born in Miami, Florida, Dámaso Rodríguez is a Co-Founder of Los Angeles' Furious Theatre (called “one of the fastest-rising ensembles in L.A. stage history” by LA Stage Magazine), where he spent 11 years as Co-Artistic Director. He spent eight seasons in residence at The Pasadena Playhouse, where he served as Associate Artistic Director to Sheldon Epps. Rodríguez has produced and directed a broad range of new and classic plays at some of the country’s most prominent regional theaters.

Rodríguez spent nine seasons as Artistic Director of Artists Rep, Portland, Oregon's longest-running professional theater. During his tenure, Artists Rep joined the League of Resident Theaters (LORT) and produced more than 60 productions. Artistic programming highlights include: the establishment of a new works development program; the organizational residency and resource-sharing program known as ArtsHub; the creation of a resident artists program involving nearly 40 artists across theatrical disciplines; and the pandemic pivot to digital productions such as audio dramas and short films. In the 2022/23 theater season, three plays developed during his tenure were produced around the country: The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa FastHorse (Broadway 2023), Wolf Play by Hansol Jung (Off-Broadway 2023), American Fast by Kareem Fahmy (National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere 2023).

Rodríguez is a recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, Back Stage Garland Award, NAACP Theatre Award, and the Pasadena Arts Council Gold Crown Award. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, currently serves on the National Directors Council of the Drama League, and has served on panels for National Endowment for the Arts, as a Theatre Communications Group Delegate to the Havana International Theatre Festival, and as a guest of Spain’s Ministry of Culture for the Ibero-American Theatre Forum.

Photo credit: Lava Alapai



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