The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday December 5th

Playmakers adds two directors for new season

Last week, Playmakers Repertory Company named Justin Haslett and Jerry Ruiz as the respective new Managing Director and Associate Artistic Director.

Haslett comes to Playmakers after previously working with Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company, and will work with artistic directors in implementing the theatre’s strategies.

“I’m really looking forward to being involved with a company with such a significant historical legacy in being a part of academic learning for theatre training, and a great legacy of doing great work,” Haslett said. “I’m also looking forward to warmer winters — I’ve had far too many winters shoveling 13+ feet of snow.”

Ruiz — who is already set to direct the show “Twelfth Night” in 2017 — has worked with multiple regional and university theatres, but is ready to settle down with Playmakers.

“As I’ve built my career, I’ve really longed for an artistic home and longed to become part of a company and really land in a place where I can have that relationship not just with other artists,” Ruiz said. “I also enjoy working in the academic environment with young people and young artists, so that’s another thing about this particular opportunity that just felt really right.”

Haslett and Ruiz are not the only Playmakers’ additions of 2016 — in January, Vivienne Benesch became the producing artistic director. General Manager Jen Rogers said she’s excited to see how the addition of the two directors will impact the future of Playmakers.

“I think they’re coming to us with great experiences and ideas,” Rogers said. “They’re a great addition to the team as a part of this new sort of generation of Playmakers Viv is leading with all of us.”

Ruiz said Benesch and her vision for Playmakers was one of the most appealing aspects of coming to the theatre company.

“I did my research before I applied, and found that her direction aligned with the work I want to do and my vision for my career artistically and the kind of thing I want to be doing,” he said.

The new group of leaders have already begun forming ideas for future seasons, one of which is creating a play festival revolving around social justice.

Haslett said he’s excited to see how the new leadership team will impact the theatre with Benesch in charge.

“I think the upcoming season is dynamic showing of vision and passion of live theatre Vivienne has,” he said. “It’s a wonderful capsulation of what makes her tick and make us a truly significant player.”

Haslett said he’s excited about the opportunities the town of Chapel Hill will bring as well.

“I’m really excited to move to the area,” Haslett said. “The three days there were wonderful, surrounded by warm, charming, delightful people in a beautiful town. I can’t wait to be part of the community and I can’t wait to be there and I can’t wait to get started.”

@yayjennic

arts@dailytarheel.com



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