New artistic director from Oregon
Chris Coleman, artistic director of the Center Stage theater company in Portland, Ore., will join the Denver Center for the Performing Arts as its new artistic director, the DCPA announced Tuesday.
As the nation’s largest nonprofit theater company, the DCPA began its nearly yearlong search shortly after the surprise resignation of Kent Thompson in January.
Coleman, an Atlanta native, brings 17 years of experience at Portland Center Stage, as well as directing stints in New York, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, according to DCPA officials.
“I knew Kent Thompson, and we had spoken about his time at the theater over the past few years, so I did track when he left, and like many folks had questions,” Coleman wrote via email to The Denver Post. “But I kind of forgot about it, until the recruiter reached out to me this summer.”
That changed two weeks ago when Coleman suddenly became a serious candidate, he said.
“I want to learn as much as I can about what is already working well and support that,” Coleman said. “I’m very interested in deepening relationships with the increasingly diverse communities in Denver — and how our work can provide opportunities for creating conversation around that.”
Coleman will start at the DCPA on a limited basis in January and help program the theater company’s 201819 season. He assumes the artistic director job full-time in mid-May, when the Portland Center Stage production of “Major Barbara,” which he is directing, closes.
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Chris into our Denver family,” said Janice Sinden, CEO and president of the DCPA, in a press statement. “His commitment to artistic excellence, community engagement, new play development, crowd-pleasing musicals and discovery of new voices will further the DCPA’s efforts to diversify its audience and resonate throughout the region.”
Coleman was selected after a nationwide search led by Bard Arts Consulting.
He will direct the 38year-old, Tony Award-winning DCPA Theatre Company as it produces 8 to 10 classic, contemporary and new works each season, hosts the annual Colorado New Play Summit, and engages new audiences through its experimental Off-Center producing division, DCPA officials said.