The Welders Welcome New Artistic Director

By: Nov. 19, 2014
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Jojo Ruf, Allyson Currin, Renee Calarco,
]Gwydion Suilebhan, Caleen Sinnette Jennings, and Bob Bartlett

The Welders-Washington's only playwrights' collective devoted exclusively to developing and producing new work-has named Bob Bartlett as their new artistic director. Bartlett will lead the company through mid-2015. He succeeds Caleen Sinnette Jennings, who served as the company's artistic director during the development and production of her own critically acclaimed play Not Enuf Lifetimes. Allyson Currin, author of the critical and box-office hit The Carolina Layaway Grail, was The Welders' inaugural artistic director.

Over the course of his artistic directorship, Bartlett will develop and produce a new play still to be determined. It will be directed by Gregg Henry and is scheduled to open at The Atlas Performing Arts Center in the summer of 2015.

"I've learned so much from Caleen, as a leader and as an artist and a person," Bartlett says. "I'm so proud of our mission, and the work that will follow us."

"Thanks to my Welders family and fabulous artistic and production team, mounting Not Enuf Lifetimes was an amazing experience," says Jennings. "When people ask me what's next for me, I say, with a great big grin, 'Bob Bartlett'!"

The transitioning of the artistic directorship is integral to The Welders' operating structure. Through early 2016, each member playwright-Bartlett, Jennings, Currin, Renee Calarco, and Gwydion Suilebhan-will serve as the collective's artistic director for six to eight months. Executive and Creative Director Jojo Ruf will provide production and dramaturgical support for all of the playwrights during that time. After their term is complete in 2016, the five playwrights will give The Welders' entire operations to a new generation of playwrights.

As Bartlett prepares for his production, he says, "I know I'm not in this alone. I've got my Welders family - and DC's supportive audiences and theatre artists - behind me. We're growing stronger every day and every play."

Photo by Teresa Castracane


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