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TBA Online: News & Features: August 2015

Newsfeed: August 19, 2015

Wednesday, August 19, 2015   (0 Comments)
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Bay Area Theatre News

•Cal Shakes Welcomes New Artistic Director Eric Ting
• Chad Jones Named New Executive Director at SFArtsED
• Cutting Ball Theater Artistic Director Melrose Takes Leave
• SF Circus Center Names Sara Moore Clown Conservatory Director
• Former Guardian Critic Robert Avila Goes Digital
• Tabard Theatre Teams with National Orphan Train Complex
• Emergency Grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts

State/National Theatre News

• Greg Reiner joins the NEA as Director of Theater and Musical Theater
• Mellon Foundation Accepting Applications for Next Round of Residency Grants 


New Cal Shakes artistic director Eric Ting.


Bay Area Theatre News

Cal Shakes Welcomes New Artistic Director Eric Ting
California Shakespeare Theater has named Eric Ting as its new artistic director, succeeding Jonathan Moscone. Ting, an OBIE Award-winning director whose career has included productions at Manhattan Theatre Club, the Public Theater, the Goodman Theatre and Shakespeare Santa Cruz, was selected after an exhaustive search that drew applicants from across the country. 

Managing director Susie Falk said, “Participating in this search process has been a rich and rewarding experience. “The search committee had the opportunity to engage artists, staff, community partners, patrons, and donors in conversations about the future of Cal Shakes, and to find the right individual to lead us into our next chapter. I’m thrilled that Eric has been selected as my partner, and look forward to working closely with him in the years to come.”

Ting said, "I can’t imagine a more passionate and devoted partner than Susie Falk; nor a more dynamic community of staff, artists, and audience to call my home; nor a more splendid cultural and civic landscape than the Bay Area; and that stage, that glorious backdrop, those hills, that sky, the stars! I’m eager to see what the future holds for Cal Shakes, and so very excited to be a part of it.”

Ting will assume his new duties on November 1. His wife, Meiyin Wang, will join him in early 2016, along with their daughter, Frankie. Visit

Former Guardian Critic Robert Avila Goes Digital
Robert Avila, well-known Bay Area arts critic, has launched his own online publication, titled Poverty: An Arts Journal. Avila, former lead theatre critic at now-shuttered weekly San Francisco Bay Guardian and regular contributor to field publications including American Theatre and Theatre Bay Area’s TBA Online, plans to publish criticism and reflections on theatre, dance, performance art and film on the site. Poverty, still under construction, will focus largely on the Bay Area, but will also feature writing on work done across the nation and in Europe. Visit

Chad Jones Named New Executive Director at SFArtsED
Longtime Bay Area theatre critic and arts journalist Chad Jones has been appointed to the position of executive director of the San Francisco Arts Education Project (SFArtsED). After more than 10 years as chief theatre critic for the Oakland Tribune and Bay Area News Group, Jones, who also blogs at, has spent the past five years working at SFArtsED as the director of development and communication. Under Jones’ leadership, SFArtsED saw the most successful fundraising results since the organization’s inception in 1968. 

“Chad has proven himself in these last five years as a key member of our staff. These next years will see both challenges and exciting opportunities for SFArtsED, and we feel certain Chad is uniquely prepared to help us turn the page on a new and vital chapter,” says Emily Keeler, SFArtsED’s artistic director.

Of his new position, Jones said, “As someone whose life was changed by the arts experiences I had in school, I am proud and honored to serve as SFArtsED’s executive director. The work this organization has done for nearly 50 years is vital and important. This is affirmed for me every time I experience the performing or visual arts created by children working with SFArtsED artists. The creativity, interactivity and sheer joy of the arts has a profound impact on everyone involved.” Visit

Cutting Ball Theater Artistic Director Melrose Takes Leave
The Cutting Ball Theater’s artistic director Rob Melrose will be taking a yearlong sabbatical from his duties as artistic director—though he won’t be going very far. During his time off, Melrose will direct two productions in the company’s next season, Ondine and A Dream Play, and translate Carlo Gozzi’s The Serpent Woman for the theatre’s Hidden Classics reading series. He will also direct Much Ado About Nothing for San Diego’s Old Globe, and see two of his translations, The Chairs and Ubu Roi, produced at the Pearl Theater in New York and the Garage Theater in New Jersey, respectively.

This is the latest major organizational shift for Cutting Ball, starting with last month’s departure of managing director Suzanne Appel. Molly Hennighausen will be filling her shoes as interim managing director, with Ariel Craft joining the company as producing associate artistic director.  

Cutting Ball cofounder Paige Rogers, who will serve as interim artistic director, said “Obviously this is a time of enormous change for Cutting Ball, but change can often create energy and excitement and this is exactly how I feel when I wake up each morning.” Visit

SF Circus Center Names Sara Moore Clown Conservatory Director
Bay Area "clownteuse" Sara Moore has recently been named director of Circus Center’s Clown Conservatory, a noted professional training center for clowns and physical comedians. She will succeed the previous directors Jeff Raz and Joe Dieffenbacher, and work closely with Circus Center creative director Steve Smith and executive director Barry Kendall to develop new curricula, expand performance opportunities and improve career support to alumni.

Moore brings to the position over 30 years of clowning experience, having created, directed, and performed material for companies including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the New Pickle Circus, the Krofft Puppets and Six Flags Show Productions, as well as in film and off Broadway. 

Moore, who will assume her duties immediately, said, “We clowns strive to be human cartoons, poets in action, and the great funhouse mirrors for our oft­despairing world. I look ecstatically forward to leading the Clown Conservatory into a buoyant, spirited, and funny future of precision idiocy!”

Kendall said, “Sara is deeply knowledgeable about the theory and practice of clowning. Moreover, she is gifted at using and sharing this expertise to get the best out of student performers. She will be a terrific asset to both the local clown community and the global circus industry, and we’re confident that the Clown Conservatory will take giant leaps forward under her leadership.” Visit

Tabard Theatre Teams with National Orphan Train Complex 
Tabard Theatre, in partnership with the National Orphan Train Complex (NOTC), has announced that the first-ever Western States Orphan Train Conference will be held in San Jose on September 18 and 19, 2015. Tabard will present its world premiere of Homeward Bound, an Orphan Train Journey at the conference, which is designed to gather and educate orphan train riders, their descendants, and the public about a little-known part of US history, from 1854 to 1929, when approximately 250,000 orphans and abandoned children were sent from East Coast cities to new homes in the West, including San Jose. 

“The Orphan Train movement is an important part of American history. There are over 2 million orphan train rider descendants in America,” said NOTC curator Shaley George, “many of whom are unaware that their ancestors were part of the Placing Out Program.” Visit

Emergency Grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts
The Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA), a New York-based nonprofit organization that focuses on assisting, promoting and growing experimentation and innovation in the arts, is accepting applications for their Emergency Grants program. The program, which has operated since 1993, provides $200 to $2000 in financial assistance to visual and performing artists who encounter creative emergencies; chiefly unanticipated, sudden opportunities to present their work to the public with insufficient time to seek other sources of funding, or unexpected expenses for works that already have committed performance dates. 

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed monthly, allowing for immediate funding and support. Visit

National Theatre News

Greg Reiner joins the NEA as Director of Theater and Musical Theater
Greg Reiner will join the National Endowment for the Arts as director of theater and musical theater, the agency announced recently. Beginning September 8, Reiner will help oversee the awarding of grants (amounting to over $6 million in 2014 alone) to theatrical organizations across the country, as well as representing the NEA to the field at large. 

Reiner leaves his position as executive director of New York’s Classic Stage Company, where he led the company’s largest-ever fundraising campaign, the Musical Theater Initiative, and launched a number of educational programs. He is perhaps best known for his work as founding executive director of the Tectonic Theater Project, where he earned a Tony nomination for 33 Variations and helmed the nationwide simultaneous opening performances of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later

"Reiner’s formidable skills in theater management and development are matched by his equally remarkable track record in fostering theater education and community outreach,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “His expertise will be an asset to the Arts Endowment and the theater community.”

Mellon Foundation Accepting Applications for Next Round of Residency Grants
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has announced that it is accepting applications for its second round of the National Playwright Residency Program. Launched in YEAR, this program places professional playwrights in residency as full-time staff members at theatres nationwide; the Mellon Foundation pays the writers’ salaries and gives them an additional $30,000 for research and development during the grant period. Host companies agree to produce one play by the playwright during the grant period, and receive $30,000 toward administrative support of the residency. (View full list of requirements and grant application here.) Applications are due September 15 for residencies to commence in July 2016. 

In the program's inaugural round, 14 playwrights were placed in theatre companies around the country, including Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, in residence at Z Space, and Andrew Saito, in residence at the Cutting Ball Theater. Other playwright/theatre pairings include Luis Alfaro/Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Marcus Gardley/Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago and Aditi Kapil/Mixed blood Theatre, Minneapolis. (View full list here). 

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