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Sound Theatre Announces Shermona Mitchell And Andrea Kovich As Board President, Vice President

A 2021-2023 board term begins, helmed by an award-winning Black theatre artist and a dramaturg with lived disability experience.

Sound Theatre Announces Shermona Mitchell And Andrea Kovich As Board President, Vice President

Effective immediately, Sound Theatre Company has appointed Shermona Mitchell and Andrea Kovich as Board President and Vice President, respectively. Also recently instated is Rebecca Alhadeff as Secretary.

Previous board president Patrick Lennon continues to serve on the board. Departing are Ann McCurdy, Ray Bunnage, and Gurvinder Pal Singh, whose executive leadership paved Sound Theatre's path the past three years. Lucas Fletcher remains Treasurer.

Shermona Mitchell joined the board in March 2020, and is known to Sound Theatre audiences for roles in Citizen (2019) and Last Days of Judas Iscariot (2016), which earned her a Best Supporting Actor Gregory Award. She was also an associate director for Reparations (2019).

"I come with a clear view and an understanding of how decisions made at a board level will impact theater practitioners on a personal and professional level," she said. "I am interested in using my knowledge as an artist by serving as a bridge."

Mitchell is the first Black board president in Sound Theatre's 14-year history, a milestone amid a pandemic and an ongoing revolution for BIPOC lives. She brings a lengthy theatre background - as an actor, director, adapter, and in artistic development. A two-time Gypsy Rose Lee Award winner, Mitchell also holds Broadway World titles for "Best Featured Performance in a Play" and "Excellence in Performance of a Play."

Like all theatre artists, she lost multiple jobs in a pandemic - including adapting and directing Crown: Ode to the Fresh Cut, a Book-It Repertory tour cut short in March.

"In the Spring things looked very grim for me artistically, however, whenever one door closes, another opens. I was very fortunate to continue to make theater in the middle of a pandemic, with a number of different organizations across the country," Mitchell said.

That included co-directing an interactive presentation of The Race 2020 with Marc Weinblatt at Intiman Theatre, as well as directing a Zoom play of Rachel Atkin's Ain't Y(our) History.

"I was able to look at several different models that were beneficial to the artist, the community, and the organization," said Mitchell, who is also an artistic associate at Seattle Public Theatre. "I saw what worked and what didn't, what felt respectful to me as an artist and what organizations were just giving lip service."

As Sound Theatre paves a path as an artist-driven organization with intersectional programming, it also welcomes a new lens of dramaturgy and disability within its executive leadership: incoming vice president Andrea Kovich.

"It's significant that a company with an artist-centric mission will have active theatre artists who have worked with local artists and organizations in board leadership roles," said Kovich, who has served on Sound Theatre's board Governance committee since early 2019. "I'm excited to take on this board leadership role with an organization that's committed to EDIA (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility). This leadership change occurs at a pivotal moment in STC's history when the need for both racial justice and disability justice are being highlighted."

Kovich, a wheelchair user and accessibility consultant in the architecture field, curated Sound Theatre's staged reading series ILLUMINATE: Six Plays by Deaf and Disabled Playwrights (2018), and was a Dramaturg for Sound Theatre's disability-centered productions The Rules of Charity (2018) and peeling (2019).

"Drawing from my lived experience as a disabled theatre artist and my professional experience focusing on accessibility, I intend to further support intersectionality in our initiatives," said Kovich.

As the pandemic continues to disproportionately deepen inequities in the arts and culture sector, Sound Theatre board's major priorities is to implement an equitable strategic plan and ensure long-term sustainability. Expanding its Making Waves program, Sound Theatre has pivoted towards digital content (including the Changer: The Radio Play). A new $100,000 grant from Borealis Philanthropy Disability Inclusion Fund enabled Sound Theatre to grow its accessibility capacity and disability-centered arts programming.

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