After a six-month search, the Alley Theatre has announced its new artistic director: Rob Melrose, a freelance director who formerly was the artistic director and co-founder of Cutting Ball Theater in San Francisco.
Melrose, who has been working in theaters across the country, has directed at The Public Theater, The Guthrie Theater, The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and PlayMakers Rep. Melrose has also written plays himself and worked as a translator. Among the plays he's translated are Woyzeck, Ubu Roi, Pelleas & Melisande and No Exit.
He will begin his job in Houston in early 2019, in time to start planning the 2019-20 season. Actor/director James Black will continue in his role as interim artistic director through the 2018-19 season.
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Black stepped into the interim position after the abrupt departure of former Alley Artistic Director Gregory Boyd in January of this year amid allegations of bullying and sexual harassment. The Alley initially tried to cast Boyd's departure as just a sudden decision unrelated to anything else, but within a month of his leaving, admitted there were other factors involved and they had not been as transparent as they should have been.
During his time as interim, Black has steered a steady course and the increased diversity of casting has been hard to miss. He will direct and act in this year's Alley production of A Christmas Carol. From a statement released with the Alley's announcement, it appears Melrose is of the same mind about diversity:
“The Alley has an exceptional history with high artistic standards and an appetite for risk and innovation. I am looking forward to pushing that path forward by strengthening and broadening the Resident Company, encouraging artistic collaboration, growing a culture where artists and staff are at ease, and most importantly creating productions and cultivating an audience that are as diverse and vibrant as the city of Houston.”
In fact, Board President Butch Mach in his released statement also referred to Melrose's "commitment to growing and diversifying the Resident Company."