Seattle Rep Announces Next Public Works Seattle Director, Angie Kamel
Seattle Repertory Theatre today announced that after an extensive national search, the organization has hired Angie Kamel as the next Public Works Seattle Director. Adapted from the nationally recognized model built by New York City's prestigious The Public Theater, Public Works Seattle creates theatre of the people, by the people, and for the people of our region, and seeks to engage audiences in new ways by making them creators and not just spectators.
Under the direction of founding program director Marya Sea Kaminski, the program kicked off at Seattle Rep in 2016. Kamel will take the lead on the program's next steps, getting to work this summer on growing community engagement programs, partnerships and more, all set to culminate in a community-wide production of As You Like It in the Bagley Wright Theatre in September 2019.
Angie Kamel is an accomplished arts and engagement manager who fully embodies the Public Works Seattle values of equity, imagination, and joy. Angie has deep ties to the Rep and the Seattle community including serving as a board member for Theatre Puget Sound. She began her theatre career in Seattle almost a decade ago in the Rep Production Department before moving to Los Angeles to serve as the Institute Manager for Cornerstone Theater Company. It was there that she worked alongside some of the most innovative theatre-makers in the country to create deep, long-term partnerships with a wide range of communities, fostering collaborative art-making between professional and community artists. She was a recipient of the TCG Continuing Education Grant in 2016 to examine the successes and challenges of creating and sustaining theatres-of-color in predominantly white cities, and has led comprehensive artistic engagement strategies for ACT Theatre here in Seattle. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Arizona, Tucson, an M.F.A. from the University of California, San Diego, and certification from the Center for Nonprofit Management in Los Angeles, where she worked closely with the Downtown Women's Center to support women experiencing homelessness in L.A.'s Skid Row.
"When I first heard Public Works was coming to the Rep, I was so excited for our city," Kamel commented. "I'm delighted to now be part of this incredible program and I look forward to working with our partners to make more community-collaborative theatre!"
"Angie's experience and vision for deep, authentic community engagement makes her uniquely qualified to steward this signature program into its next chapter," Artistic Director Braden Abraham commented. "Our staff, community partners, and, most importantly, community participants were all very inspired by Angie's qualifications and gracious leadership. We look forward to having her join our team at Seattle Rep and to another year of making theatre of, by, and for the people of our region."
Seattle Rep is also pleased to announce two new leadership grants it has been awarded in support of its 2018/19 season of community programs and workshops, and the September 2019 Public Works Seattle production of As You Like It. The theatre will receive a Creativity Connects grant of $100,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Creativity Connects category advances the role of the arts in the nation's creative ecosystem by supporting projects featuring collaborations between the arts and non-arts sectors, like those between the Rep and its five Public Works community partners: The Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, Path With Art, Byrd Barr Place, Jubilee Women's Center, and Ballard NW Senior Center. The Rep is one of 35 Creativity Connects grantees nationwide awarded support through this round of funding.
"The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country," said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. "Through the work of organizations such as Seattle Repertory Theatre, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are."
Seattle Rep is also one of four grantees awarded $50,000 each by Theatre Forward, an association of institutional nonprofit theatres located in 19 cities across the country. These grants are part of Theatre Forward's inaugural round of funding for the new Advancing Strong Theatre program, an initiative focused on promoting greater access and opportunity in the American Theatre. Advancing Strong Theatre seeks to accelerate change in the areas of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion by providing the resources for recipients to explore, initiate, or deepen collaborative relationships with those from a group currently under-represented in the activities of the theatre as audience members or participants in other programs, such as through Public Works classes and workshops.
"Our theatres asked us to help them accelerate and deepen the work they are doing to increase the equity and diversity within their institutions, as well as the inclusion of key communities in their programs," said Theatre Forward Executive Director Bruce E. Whitacre. "Advancing Strong Theatre is a response to this request and the priority of our field, and exemplifies the ways theatres are taking on a more intentional role in building communities through their art."