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April 30, 2014 at 11:35 AM

UW drama department hires new director

Todd London

Todd London

From Misha Berson, Seattle Times theater critic:

Todd London, a nationally respected writer, scholar and arts administrator, has been hired as the next executive director of the University of Washington School of Drama.  London, on the faculty of the Yale School of Drama, will replace the retiring Sarah Nash Gates, who has led the department since 1994 and will remain as a part-time faculty member. He starts work Aug. 1.

London comes with wide-ranging experience in the theater and academic worlds.  Since 1996, he has  been the artistic director of New Dramatists, a prominent New York City membership organization devoted to the support and development of playwrights.  London has worked with and on  behalf of more than 100 leading American playwrights, including the late Seattle author August Wilson,  and in 2001 he accepted a special Tony Award for New Dramatists’ services to the theater field.

London is also an award-winning journalist and  author whose thoughtful, erudite and sometimes provocative reflections on the American theater have been published in American Theatre magazine (for which he was managing editor at one time),  and in more than a dozen books he has written, edited or contributed essays to.   His most recent books, published in  2013, are “The Importance of Staying Earnest: Writings from Inside the American Theatre, 1988-2013, ”  and “An Ideal Theater: Founding Visions for a New American Art.”  He is also the author of a novel, “The World’s Room.”

He has taught at Harvard University and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.  He has also held artistic staff positions at American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass.  and C.S.C. Rep in New York.

In addition to his administrative duties at UW, London will be a teaching professor there, and his playwright wife Karen Hartman will become a part-time artist in residence in the department.  Hartman, the author of more than 20 plays and musicals,  currently teaches at Yale University and New York University.

At UW, London will face the kind of  financial and other challenges in his post that much of the state-supported university system has grappled with since the last recession.  The nationally recognized drama school has taken substantial hits to its operating and teaching budget,  and has reduced the number of student shows it produces.  In 2010, Nash announced the school would accept no graduate Professional Actor Training Program or design students for one academic  year, in order to conserve resources and stabilize the programs for the future.

More recently, new students have been accepted, and the drama school, along with UW’s music and dance departments, is participating in a new undergraduate degree program in musical theater.

Comments | More in Arts news | Topics: University of Washington, UW drama school


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