Following the departure of Dámaso Rodríguez, Artists Repertory Theatre has picked Jeanette Harrison to be its new artistic director, concluding a national search for the person best suited to fill the shoes of the legendary Rodriguez.
“I’m very excited by the synergy that already exists—separately, Artists Rep and I have already supported many of the same artists, and I look forward to what we can do together,” Harrison stated in a press release. She added, “I’m especially looking forward to building more relationships between Artists Rep and community groups working to make Portland a better, more equitable, more just place to live and work.”
Harrison, who will transition into her new role Oct. 1, is best known as as co-founder and artistic director of the Bay Area’s prolific AlterTheater (she developed the AlterLab playwright residency program, which has given rise to more than 25 new plays to world premiere productions).
Discussing her vision for Artists Rep, Harrison has expressed a desire to tell stories about a vast variety of characters.
“The arts are one of the most powerful tools for change,” she said. “And how great it is to know that if we tell stories of Black joy, if we laugh with contemporary Native characters trying to fall in love, if we put stories onstage that celebrate the complicated, messy lives of three-dimensional people, that we are helping to move that needle on justice, on equity.”