After 17 years of serving as the artistic director of the acclaimed Marin Theatre Company, the company’s board and managing director/CEO Meredith Suttles announced this week that artistic director Jasson Minadakis will leave the North Bay’s premier non-profit theater organization at the end of March 2023.
The decision marks the end of a lengthy period of artistic continuity for an organization that has drawn plaudits throughout the Bay Area for rivaling in quality much larger production companies in the region, showcasing the talents of storytelling talents of the likes of Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue served as the basis for the Academy Award-winning film Moonlight, which screened at the 39th Mill Valley Film Festival.
During his tenure, Minadakis earned a pair of playwriting awards, the Sky Cooper New American Play Prize and the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize. He’s also directed many outstanding productions — “Oslo,” “August: Osage County,” “The Invisible Hand,” “The Whipping Man,” and “Equivocation,” among others. His recruitment of Lauren Gunderson as the company’s playwright in residence has proved extraordinarily fruitful, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The country’s most-produced playwright two times over, according to American Theatre, premiered her “I and You” and her “Christmas at Pemberley” trilogy (the latter written with Margot Melcon) at MTC.
Minadakis, who garnered a Milley Award in 2016, was among the MTC leaders, with board support, that innovated and pivoted its way through the economic destruction of the COVID-19 crisis, which dealt a serious blow to just about every business and nonprofit organization in Mill Valley but had an out-sized impact in arts organizations that couldn’t do what it does best – invite residents and guests into its space to experience in-person creativity.
“Coming out of the pandemic, theaters everywhere are adjusting to changed habits and new perspectives on artistic offerings,” MTC Board Chair Wendy Feng said in a statement. “We look now to identify an artistic leader who will build upon Jasson’s work over the past 17 years as we welcome back our existing patrons and invite new ones to join the MTC community.”
“Through Jasson’s artistic leadership, MTC audiences were the first to experience some of the best new work in American theater today,” MTC Board Member Kipp Delbyck. We thank him for his vision and unflagging dedication to MTC and wish him all the best.”
“I’m extremely grateful for Jasson’s partnership over the past 18 months of my tenure at Marin Theatre Company, especially as we navigated these uniquely challenging times,” Suttles said. “His artistic leadership and creativity have kept MTC at the forefront of regional theatres and his impact will be felt for years to come. As we enter this new phase of transition and organizational transformation at MTC, we remain committed to being a vital space for artists, students, staff, audiences, and our community.”
“I am honored to have served as the artistic leader of this organization for 17 incredible seasons,” said Minadakis. “It has been a defining period in my career and my life, and I am proud of what we have achieved. Together with the staff, artists, and board of directors, we have—with amazing community support—brought the organization through the pandemic and have begun to reshape the company. It is time for a new artistic leader to lead MTC into its next phase and I’m excited to help the organization and the community through the transition period. I’m grateful to all who supported and encouraged this journey, especially the playwrights who entrusted their work to us—thank you for your genius and your faith.”
The board has formed a search committee to identify a successor to lead the next phase of Marin Theatre Company’s continued artistic growth.
MTC’s latest series of performances begins Nov. 25th focuses on August Wilson’s Two Trains Running, his seventh of 10 plays in The American Century Cycle chronicling the African American experience in the 20th Century. In 1969 Pittsburgh amid the Civil Rights Movement and the start of Black Power, restaurant owner Memphis Lee fights to sell his diner for a fair price, as it’s slated for demolition. Memphis and his regulars confront their changing neighborhood, struggle to make ends meet and strive to step toward a better life. They search for work, love and justice as their neighborhood continues to change in unpredictable ways. Two Trains Running marks the fifth August Wilson play to be produced by MTC and will be directed by Dawn Monique Williams. The play runs through Dec. 18.