Luis Alfaro, celebrated Chicano artist and MacArthur “genius” fellow, has joined Center Theatre Group as the newest Associate Artistic Director, announced Artistic Director Michael Ritchie and Managing Director/CEO Meghan Pressman. Alfaro will work closely with Ritchie and fellow associate artistic directors Lindsay Allbaugh, Tyrone Davis, Neel Keller and Kelley Kirkpatrick on overall artistic programming, while he will also oversee the L.A. Writers’ Workshop and serve a key role in the expansion of new play development.
“Center Theatre Group has been my artistic home for nearly my entire career, so to return at such a pivotal moment in the history of regional theatre, the organization, and Los Angeles, is quite invigorating,” said Alfaro. “I’m joining a wonderful mix of associate artistic directors, all of whom have been doing exciting work to move the theatre forward during such existential times. I’m looking forward to helping further our shared vision of nurturing more Los Angeles voices and stories and asking important questions, like how we are viewing our role as an anti-racist theatre organization. I’ve been heartened by my talks with Michael, his team, and Meghan about our ideas for upcoming artistic projects and investments, some of which we’ll announce soon.
“It will also be important for me to continue talking with my colleagues as we consider what is truly regional about a regional theatre, especially in our incredibly diverse city. We’ve already started having these crucial conversations and I'm positive that the entire organization is ready to lean more heavily into this idea. There’s no denying that our industry is facing a critical moment of self-reflection, and I firmly believe that Center Theatre Group is rising to the challenge as it considers its role in the new American theatrical landscape.”
Alfaro’s relationship with Center Theatre Group began in 1995, when he helped guide artistic development under Founding Artistic Director Gordon Davidson, and has continued in different roles since that time, including as a member of the newly formed CTG Creative Collective. Prior to joining the theatre, Alfaro worked as an usher for The Music Center at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theatre in the early 1980s. Center Theatre Group has produced several of his works including “Electricidad” and “Black Butterfly” at the Taper, “St. Jude” at the Douglas and, in 2020, Alfaro brought his trilogy of Greek plays, “Mojada,” “Electricidad” and “Oedipus El Rey,” to Center Theatre Group’s Digital Stage as part of the series Live From the KDT.
“I’ve been speaking with Luis and my team about this possibility for quite some time, knowing that we wanted him to have a formal role in our planning for the anticipated return to in-person programming at our theatres,” said Ritchie. “It’s also important to me for Luis to help nurture our next wave of playwrights and consider how we more deeply invest in our Los Angeles community. Luis brings a rich history and understanding of Center Theatre Group and of this great city and its many exciting voices. It’s been an honor working with Luis in various capacities over the years, and I’m heartened to know that his voice is part of the artistic team that will continue at the organization beyond my own tenure in the coming years.”
Alfaro is a Chicano writer known for his work in poetry, theatre, short stories, performance and journalism. Luis spent six seasons as the Playwright-in-Residence at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival from 2013–2019. He was a member of the Playwrights Ensemble at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre from 2013–2020. Luis is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He was recently awarded the PEN America/Laura Pels International Foundation Theater Award for a Master Dramatist, the United States Artist Fellowship and the Ford Foundation’s Art of Change Fellowship. His plays and performances include “Electricidad,” “Oedipus El Rey,” “Mojada,” “Delano” and “Body of Faith.” Luis spent over two decades in the Los Angeles poetry community and toured for ten years as a performance artist. He is a tenured professor at USC. His play anthology, “The Greek Trilogy of Luis Alfaro,” was released from Methuen Press and is the winner of this year’s London Hellenic Prize. Luis was a participant in Center Theatre Group’s 2018/19 L.A. Writers’ Workshop and is also a member of the CTG Creative Collective, a dozen inspiring, innovative and highly collaborative artists shaping the contours of the theatrical landscape of the future.
Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, which, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, Managing Director / CEO Meghan Pressman and Producing Director Douglas C. Baker, programs seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2100-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.
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July 14, 2021