As Artistic Director of The Antaeus Company from 2003-2011, I oversaw all artistic, administrative, development, marketing & financial operations of L.A.'s most highly respected classical theater company.
From 2003 - 2006 we grew the company's artistic strength; from 2007 - 2011 we grounded the work with professionalized leadership, infrastructure & funding. Already steeped in a reputation for quality, Antaeus during this time achieved an unprecedented level of artistic vibrancy & organizational growth.
Ensemble development, actor training & arts education; donor giving & administrative functions; critical acclaim & community engagement all blossomed, culminating in the launch of the theater's first full season of plays. This achievement was rewarded with the LA Drama Critic's Circle Award for "Best Season" of Los Angeles theater for 2010.
Under my leadership, in 2003 - 2006 Antaeus produced 3 multiple award-winning, full productions: Chekhov x 4, Mother Courage and her Children, & Pera Palas(a co-production with the Theatre@Boston Court). In 2003 we also created the first of many annual ClassicsFests -- 6 weeks every summer of a multitude of member-initiated readings & workshops, featuring over 100 company members, students & guest artists.
As lead teacher & administrator of The Antaeus Academy, I created a training program for upcoming young professional actors, using a large roster of local & nationally renown theater artists as guest teachers. The Academy grew to serve hundreds of actors and provided a robust revenue stream for the organization. In 2009, the A2 Company was born, a group of 60 of the best Academy-trained actors, who initiate & perform their own projects under the Antaeus umbrella.
From 2007 - 2011 Antaeus grew its infrastructure. In 2007 we launched Phase One of a capital campaign: capacity building. This initial step led to the company's first viable home & the hiring of first staff. In those 5 years, Antaeus' annual budget increased tenfold, as we built a core commuinty of loyal & enthusiastic individual donors & audiences, new income streams, a diverse board of directors & a strategic plan for the future.
Our first production in our new home at Deaf West in the heart of the Noho Arts Districk was the world premiere musical American Tales, developed through ClassicsFest readings & workshops. In 2008 we mounted the two-part extravaganza of Noel Coward one-acts called Tonight at 8:30. In 2009 we premiered Seneca's Phaedra at the Getty Villa. The Dickens Project, a new play developed via ensemble process, was recorded before a live audience by LA Theater Works and broadcast National Public Radio. Arts Education programs sprung into being, bringing the unbeatable combination of Shakespeare + recognizable actors to LAUSD middle schools & at risk youth. We also initiated an annual high-school Shakespeare monologue contest.
I'm proud that in 2010 Antaeus launched the first full season of plays in its 20 year history. The world-premiere of Jeffrey Hatcher's Cousin Bette, which I directed; along with Shakespeare's King Lear & Lillian Hellman's The Autumn Garden garnered multiple nominations & awards from the LA Weekly, Ovations, Garland & the L.A. Drama Critics Circle & others, including the LADCC's award for BEST SEASON. The 2011 season opened with a favorably received, little known classic by John Marsden, The Malcontent.
Two years of work on a project funded by the Noel Coward Society led to the development of a new version of a little-known Coward play that I discovered & fell in love with: Peace in our Time. Coward's patriotic play seemed to me to cry out for a pairing with his less well known war time songs. After an exhilerating process of developing the new adaptation, we presented it first as a staged reading & the following year as a fully staged workshop production. In 2011 I put together the creative team & cast for a full production for the fall. The soaring response to PIOT included LA Times critic Charles McNulty choosing it as one of his top 10 picks for best theater (in the world!) for 2011. As well, it won both the Ovation & LA Weekly award for Best Production of Year.
& other things
Antaeus' unprecedented growth & success came about through the magic of beginner's luck & the enthusiasm, support & team work of a group of wildly talented artists. My leadership skills grew through an ad hoc leadership course of study I created for myself, using the expertise of formidable mentors & unique programs.
In 2009, I was selected for the LA County Arts Leadership Initiative with 10 other arts leaders of museums, dance companies & theaters. Through ALI, I immersed myself in an ongoing program related to all things about non-profit best practices. It culminated with a grant for project of my own design. I chose the joyous opportunity to follow & observe the acclaimed French ensemble company, Theatre de Soliel, during their residency with the Lincoln Center International Theater Festival in 2010.
Thanks to Michael Ritchie, (who stage-managed my 2nd Broadway show) Center Theatre Group afforded me ongoing mentorships in development, marketing & budgeting from non-profit genuises: Director of Development Yvonne Bell & former Managing Director Charles Dillingham.
From 1996 - 1999 I served as Co-Artistic Director for another acclaimed Los Angeles Company, The Classical Theater Lab. With the Lab, I helped faciliate the artistic aspirations of an ensemble company of artists, directed & curated projects & initiated an actor training program.
By invitation of the LA Stage Alliance, I currently serve on the Ovation Award Rules Committee, comprised of 9 - 15 theater professionals in the greater LA area. The committee meets monthly to oversee all aspects of the Ovation Awards voting process, including the annual selection of 250 voters. The Ovation Awards are the highest profile theater awards on the west coast, & one of the few where theater artists are judged exclusively by a vetted pool of their peers.