Following an extensive nationwide search, Marin Theatre Company‘s board of directors and Managing Director Meredith Suttles today announced Lance Gardner as the new artistic director of the North Bay’s premier non-profit theatre organization.

MTC officials say they welcome Gardner’s insight and vision for growth as a Bay Area native who has built his artistic career by investing in the local arts community, forging invaluable relationships, and prioritizing local connections. The artistic director search committee was led by Matthew Purdon. The committee engaged Tom O’Connor Consulting Group, one of the premier executive search and consulting firms in the field of performing arts, and the search was co-led by President Tom O’Connor and Consultant Sarah Williams

Gardner has an established artistic history in the Bay Area theatre community as well as a long relationship with MTC. Through Gardner’s work as an actor at MTC, he understands first-hand MTC’s nationally-recognized legacy of investing in new playwrights, commitment to professional production quality, and the internal care needed to nurture the artists creating the work. Additionally, Lance brings with him professional experience in artistic curation from KQED and organizational leadership as board president at Aurora Theatre to fully support all aspects of MTC as its new Artistic Director

A familiar face in the San Francisco Bay Area theatre scene, Gardner is an actor and producer born and raised in the Bay Area. He has earned dozens of theatre credits over the last 20 years, including six mainstage shows and a school tour at Marin Theatre Company. He has also performed in multiple shows at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Magic Theatre, TheatreWorks, and more recently served as the President of the Board of Aurora Theatre. He comes to Marin from KQED, where, as a live event producer, he helped launch KQED Live, a year-round, in-person and virtual events program where he crafted unique experiences marrying journalism, arts, and entertainment. Harnessing the power of public media, he created bespoke concerts, game shows, performances, food and dining events, interviews and more. His work has been featured on KQED TV and on the radio at KQED and KALW.

Gardner says he looks forward to connecting with the Bay Area community as MTC’s new artistic director at the Marin Theatre Company Fall Benefit this November 5 at Verdi Club San Francisco.

Gardner joins MTC on the heels of a successful opening of the 2023-2024 season with the world premiere of “Odyssey,” adapted and directed by internationally-renowned writer and director Lisa Peterson, a former associate director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where she has mounted a one-man “An Iliad.”

As we head into late November comes “Dragon Lady” (Nov. 24-Dec. 17), a solo cabaret that’s the first part of a trilogy by Sara Porkalob, all about the women in her family. In this installment, she does a take on her Filipina grandmother’s life that draws equally on karaoke, gangsters and a trailer park, suggesting her grit is genetic.

Next year brings “Bees and Honey” (Feb. 14-March 10) by Guadalís Del Carmen, co-founder of the Latinx Playwrights Circle. The West Coast premiere follows a Dominican couple who seem to be on the up-and-up — he with his auto shop, she poised to make partner at her law firm — till a sick parent must suddenly move in. If your love requires prosperity, the show asks, is it still love?

“Torch Song” (May 9-June 2, 2024), Harvey Fierstein’s two-act condensation of his 1982 “Torch Song Trilogy,” wraps up the season. MTC mounts the show, about a drag queen on the prowl for love and respect and trying futilely to escape the nagging voice of his mother, at a timely moment. 


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