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BC Alumni, Leaders in the American Theater,
Participate in Artistic Directors’ Panel

Chestnut Hill, MA (4-20-12) -- The Boston College Theatre Department, in partnership with the University's 2012 Arts Festival, will present an April 26 free, public symposium on artistic leadership in the American theater. It will feature three prominent artistic directors of important theater organizations, all Boston College alumni.

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Tony Taccone

Participants include Tony Taccone (Class of 1972), artistic director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, California and recipient of the 2012 BC Arts Council Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement; Kate Maguire (Class of 1978), artistic director and CEO of the Berkshire Theatre Group in Western Massachusetts; and Paul Daigneault (Class of 1987), producing artistic director of SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston and the BC Theatre Department's 2011-2012 Rev. J. Donald Monan S.J. Professor of Theater Arts. 

Titled "Tough Decisions: Leading the American Theater in the 21st Century," the conversation will focus on the many challenges of artistic leadership in the current economic and cultural climate, including balancing artistic vision with practical management strategies. 

The event will take place on Thursday, April 26, 2012 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Gasson Hall (located on BC’s Chestnut Hill Campus at 140 Commonwealth Avenue) in Room 305, followed by a brief reception.  The panel discussion will be led by David Dower, co-leader with Polly Carl of the newly formed Center for the Theater Commons at Emerson College. 

"BC alums are out there--in major positions--shaping the American theater," says Scott T. Cummings, chair of BC’s Theatre Department. "I want our students, the entire BC community, and the national theater community to know that.  We have much to learn from Tony and Paul and Kate." 

"Tough Decisions: Leading the American Theater in the 21st Century" is part of the Theatre Department's celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Robsham Theater Arts Center, the home of the performing arts at Boston College.  That celebration includes the final production of the anniversary season, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by BC Adjunct Associate Professor of Theatre Luke Jorgensen on the Mainstage Thursday-Sunday, April 26-29. 

For more information about the "Tough Decisions" symposium or the production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, see www.bc.edu/theatre or contact Sean Murphy in the Theatre Department at 617-552-4012.

More on Panel Participants:

Tony Taccone has been artistic director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre since 1997 and was associate artistic director for a decade prior.  He has directed more than 35 shows there, including world premieres by Culture Clash, Rinde Eckert, David Edgar, Danny Hoch, Geoff Hoyle, Quincy Long, Itamar Moses, and Lemony Snicket.  While artistic director of Eureka Theatre in San Francisco from 1981 to 1988, he commissioned Tony Kushner's landmark Angels in America and went on to co-direct its world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and to team up with Kushner on seven additional projects.  Taccone took two shows from Berkeley Rep to Broadway: Sarah Jones’ Bridge & Tunnel, which won a Tony Award for its star, and Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking.  In recent years, he has turned his talents to playwriting, with two of his scripts premiering this year: Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup and Ghost Light, a co-production between Berkeley Rep and Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Kate Maguire became artistic director and CEO of the Berkshire Theatre Festival (BTF) in 1998 after two years as managing director.  She facilitated the process that led to the 2011 merger of BTF in Stockbridge and the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield and the formation of the Berkshire Theatre Group.  She now oversees the presentation of theater, dance, music and comedy year-round on five stages in Western Massachusetts, including an outdoor space for family programming at The Mount in Lenox and the BTF's Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, a training ground for the next generation of theater artists. She has developed and successfully transferred several BTF productions to Broadway and off-Broadway theaters to New York City including Cowgirls, Over The River and Through the Woods, Visiting Mr. Green, An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf, Smell of the Kill, Souvenir, and My Buddy Bill.

Paul Daigneault has produced more than 100 Boston and New England premieres as SpeakEasy Stage Company's producing artistic director since he co-founded the theater in 1992 with some theater friends from BC.  He has directed more than half of these shows, including the current season's sell-out production of Next to Normal and the soon-to-open disco romp Xanadu. SpeakEasy's many awards include StageSource's 2008 Theater Hero Award and five Eliot Norton Awards in 2010.  He received BC's 2007 BC Arts Council Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement and returned to campus as this year's visiting Monan Professor of Theater Arts, directing the musical Into the Woods in the fall and teaching a master class in Musical Theater Performance this spring.  He is also on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory. 

David Dower is the new director of artistic programs at Arts Emerson. He comes to Boston from six seasons with Arena Stage in Washington, DC where he was the associate artistic director. He directed Arena's Artistic Development team and created the American Voices New Play Institute. He created and managed the NEA New Play Development Program for Arena, now the subject of a PBS documentary. Previously he spent 13 years as the founding artistic director of The Z Space in San Francisco, and five as a founding artistic director of its predecessor, the ensemble company Z Collective. A long-term champion of new play development, he is the author of The Gates of Opportunity, an influential 2009 survey report commissioned by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's New Plays Initiative.

Boston College Office of News & Public Affairs