PictureMarin Theatre Co. Associate Artistic Director Nakissa Etemad. Courtesy image.

Marin Theatre Company, which opened its production of American Dreams this week, announced that Nakissa Etemad is its first associate artistic director. Etemad will share producing, season programming, artist hiring, new play development initiatives, and oversight of the company’s education programs responsibilities with artistic director Jasson Minadakis. She will also contribute to the rebuilding of MTC with new leadership models and a focus on collaboration.

“(Nakissa’s) vision, passion, artistry, and advocacy will elevate our company’s driving focus to support the American playwright from conception through production,” ​Minadakis said in a statement. “I am eager to partner with Nakissa and to travel the new paths that she charts for us through her unique voice and stewardship. Nakissa joins us at a pivotal moment as we re-envision our company, our community, and our art form. Her impact on our organization, region, and national theatre community will undoubtedly be felt immediately.”

Etemad’s experience includes leading the literary departments of San Diego Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, where she supported productions that opened up conversations around race, gender, equity, and inclusion. Additionally, Etemad has cultivated premieres from playwrights such as Luis Valdez, Culture Clash, Octavio Solis, Lynn Nottage, Naomi Iizuka, Polly Pen, Tom Stoppard, Dael Orlandersmith, Arthur Miller, Charles L. Mee, and Chay Yew. Her work has taken her to Berkeley’s Shotgun Players, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, San Francisco’s Cutting Ball Theater, and Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Etemad also collaborated with Margo Hall on Be Bop Baby: A Musical Memoir at Z Space in San Francisco.

“Marin Theatre Company could not be getting a better gift than Nakissa Etemad,” said Hall, artistic director of the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, in a statement. “An artist whose integrity and passion will help the company forge ahead as we face new challenges in ways of making theatre. I am thrilled that so many other artists will have the pleasure of working with her as I have.”

Etemad worked with MTC earlier this year on its production of Noura with Golden Thread Productions. “It was clear that Nakissa’s gifts and unique voice could catalyze MTC’s artistic vision and forge key alliances locally and nationally,” said Denmo Ibrahim, lead actor of Noura, and recent addition to the MTC Board. “I’m thrilled to see her step into this role at such a pivotal moment in our country’s history for women and people of color.”

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