Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Eric Ting is the New Artistic Director of California Shakespeare Theater

Eric Ting

Eric Ting

Congratulations to Eric Ting who has been appointed as the new Artistic Director of the California Shakespeare Theater.

Ting will make periodic visits to the Theater between now and November 1, 2015, when he assumes his official duties as Cal Shakes Artistic Director. He will be joined in early 2016 by his wife Meiyin Wang—currently Co-Director of the Under the Radar Festival and the Devised Theater Initiative at the Public Theater as well as Curator of the Park Avenue Armory Artist- In-Residence program in New York City—and their new daughter, Frankie.

The announcement, by Cal Shakes Board President Jean Simpson and Search Committee Chair Kate Stechschulte, caps an extensive seven-month nationwide search. Ting will serve as the fifth artistic director in the company’s history, succeeding outgoing Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, who completed his 16-year tenure with the opening of The Mystery of Irma Vep.

President Jean Simpson commented, “The board is delighted to be welcoming Eric Ting to Cal Shakes. We met some extraordinary candidates during this search process, but ultimately Eric rose to the top. With his extensive directing credits at some of the top theaters in the country, his decade of institutional leadership experience as the Associate Artistic Director of Long Wharf Theatre, his collaborative spirit, and his demonstrated vision and passion for arts education and community engagement, he is well-poised to take the creative helm of this wonderful institution.”

“I am profoundly honored to join this remarkable organization whose mission and programming both on and off its stage so thoroughly embody what I believe a theater can and must be today,” Eric Ting remarked. “I’m inspired by the fearless scope of vision of my predecessor, Jonathan Moscone; and humbled by the collective commitment, faith, and trust given me by Jean, Kate, and the entre Cal Shakes Board. I can’t imagine a more passionate and devoted partner than Susie Falk; nor a more dynamic community of staff, artists, and audience to call my home; nor a more splendid cultural and civic landscape than the Bay Area; and that stage, that glorious backdrop, those hills, that sky, the stars! I’m eager to see what the future holds for Cal Shakes, and so very excited to be a part of it.”

Francis Jue, Eric Ting and Jo Mei in rehearsal for The World of Extreme Happiness at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York on January 27, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Francis Jue, Eric Ting and Jo Mei in rehearsal for The World of Extreme Happiness at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York on January 27, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

“Participating in this search process has been a rich and rewarding experience,” added Managing Director Susie Falk. “The search committee, working with consultant Greg Kandel of Management Consultants for the Arts, had the opportunity to engage artists, staff, community partners, patrons, and donors in conversations about the future of Cal Shakes, and to find the right individual to lead us into our next chapter. I’m thrilled that Eric has been selected as my partner, and look forward to working closely with him in the years to come.”

Playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig and director Eric Ting. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig and director
Eric Ting. Photo by Lia Chang

Obie Award-winning director Eric Ting has been called “a magician” by New Yorker magazine and “perhaps one of the most gifted young directors in our midst” (Hartford Courant). Deeply committed throughout his career to the development of new and diverse voices for the theater, Mr. Ting has directed new works (many of them world premieres) by Sam Hunter, Adit Kapil, Kimber Lee, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Laura Jacqmin, Kenneth Lin, Kristofer Diaz, Anna Deavere Smith, and others.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Eric Ting. Photo by Lia Chang

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Eric Ting. Photo by Lia Chang

Beyond his advocacy for new plays, Ting has also been recognized for his co-adaptation of Hemingway’s Old Man & the Sea and his controversial interpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth set during the Vietnam War. Mr. Ting has directed productions at Manhattan Theatre Club, Soho Rep, the Public Theater, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens, Williamstown Theatre Festival, A.R.T., Hartford Stage, BAM Next Wave, and the Alliance Theatre; as well as internationally, including Singapore, France, Canada, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bali. No stranger to the Bay Area, his work has been seen at Shakespeare Santa Cruz (Shipwrecked! An Entertainment…), and through workshops and readings at A.C.T., Berkeley Rep, Marin Theatre Company, and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival.

Telly Leung, Jennifer Lim and director Eric Ting in rehearsal for The World of Extreme Happiness at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York on January 27, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Telly Leung, Jennifer Lim and director Eric Ting in rehearsal for The World of Extreme Happiness at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York on January 27, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

During his eleven seasons at Long Wharf Theatre, eight as Associate Artistic Director, Mr. Ting was most notably a driving force in several innovative community and audience engagement initiatives that vigorously pursued the potential of art as a tool for social change. He has been a teaching artist for the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and the Perry-Mansfeld Performing Arts School and Camp; led playwriting workshops for survivors of domestic violence; and developed afer-school programs for underprivileged children in his home state of West Virginia.

Opening night with The World of Extreme Happiness - actor James Saito, playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, cast members Sue Jin Song, Telly Leung, Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue, and actress Jo Mei, sound designer Mikhail Fiksel, and director Eric Ting. Photo by Lia Chang

Opening night with The World of Extreme Happiness – actor James Saito, playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, cast members Sue Jin Song, Telly Leung, Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue, and actress Jo Mei, sound designer Mikhail Fiksel, and director Eric Ting. Photo by Lia Chang

Mr. Ting is a founding member of the artists’ collective Intelligent Beasts. He is a multiple-grant recipient, including a TCG New Generations Future Leaders fellowship, a Jerome & Roslyn Milstein Meyer Career Development Prize, and (with Meiyin Wang) a 2012 MAP Fund Award for the development of Motherland/ Foreign Relations (We All Here Why You Never Call?). He was recognized on the occasion of American Theatre magazine’s 25th Anniversary as one of 25 forward-thinking artists. Additionally, he has served on numerous grant and fellowship panels including the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, the Jerome and McKnight Foundations, the NEA, TCG, PONY and the Alpert Awards.

For more information on Cal Shakes, go to www.calshakes.org.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and FebOne1960.com Blog.

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Photos: Francis Jue, Telly Leung, Jennifer Lim, Jo Mei, James Saito, Sue Jin Song, Harriet Harris and More at Opening Night of The World of Extreme Happiness
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Rehearsal Photos: Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue, Telly Leung, Jo Mei, James Saito and Sue Jin Song in MTC Run of World Premiere of The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, February 3 – March 29
Jennifer Lim, Ruy Iskandar, Francis Jue, Jodi Long, Jo Mei and Donald Li Set for Goodman Theatre’s World Premiere Co-production with Manhattan Theatre Club of The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Opens September 22

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