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TBA Online: News & Features: October 2014

Wolf Out the Door at Crowded Fire

Tuesday, October 28, 2014   (0 Comments)
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Marissa Wolf. Photo: Cheshire Isaacs 

By Lily Janiak

This morning Crowded Fire Theater announced the departure of artistic director Marissa Wolf. She'll be leaving the company in December, when the company's 2014 season ends, and heading to Kansas City, where she'll serve as director of new works, a new position, at Kansas City Rep.

Wolf is Crowded Fire's third artistic director, having assumed the role in 2008 after founding artistic director Rebecca Novick stepped down and then a very brief coartistic director stint by Kent Nicholson and Cassie Beck. "I'm so deeply proud of the powerful vanguard of work that Crowded Fire has championed over the last six seasons," Wolf said in a statement. "We've grown both our programming and the organization, more than doubling our budget as we've built out our main stage season and the Matchbox for new play development." Wolf's other accomplishments with the company include establishing a new contract with Actors' Equity, increasing Crowded Fire's support from foundations and directing productions such as The Late Wedding by Christopher Chen, The Taming by Lauren Gunderson and Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven by Young Jean Lee. She also commissioned, along with Playwrights' Foundation, the Glickman Award-winning The Hundred Flowers Project, also by Chen.

Wolf leaves an exemplary legacy, Crowded Fire board president Peter Glazer said in a statement. "I know I speak for the entire Crowded Fire board of directors when I say how lucky we have all been—board, staff, resident artists and the Bay Area theatre community—to have had Marissa as a colleague and inspiration these six years. People of her talent and grace are rare in this business, and we are thrilled to be able to send her into the next phase of her already brilliant career, and wish her the very best. Now we are left with the exciting task of taking CFT into its next adventure with Marissa's tenure as a model of artistic excellence, professionalism, integrity and mutual trust."

 While Crowded Fire hasn't yet named a successor, the company is not changing its coming programming: the Matchbox reading series in December (which will feature Wolf in her last directing project for the company as its artistic director—a reading of La Lechera by Andrew Saito) and its 2015 season, which Wolf has already selected and whose lineup will be announced at the Matchbox. "Marissa is leaving us with an amazing new line-up of plays in place for next season, and a noteworthy legacy upon which a new artistic leader can build," says managing director Tiffany Cothran. "Expect fearless and arresting programming with some familiar faces and a host of new artists as well. The Crowded Fire team of resident artists is gearing up to deliver powerhouse productions representing an array of diverse voices in 2015—in other words, a quintessential CFT season!"

Beginning the search for a successor, Cothran continued, represents an exciting opportunity for the company. "[Wolf's] departure is an incredible opportunity for an incoming artistic director, and also an opportunity for us as an organization continuing to grow. Change is a powerful and exhilarating force, and everyone at Crowded Fire is eager to begin this new chapter."