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Thursday, October 11, 2007

A.C.T., SF Ballet and SF Opera Change Horses Midstream

Posted By on Thu, Oct 11, 2007 at 8:43 AM

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The top echelons of a few major Bay Arts organizations are going through a bit of a seismic shift. Something weird is going around.

By Chloe Veltman

It's been a strange few weeks for a journalist working in the Bay Area arts world. I've exchanged emails about anal vibrators with a playwright. I found out about one director who, frightened about entering the rehearsal room in his youth, would swig half a bottle of brandy to steady himself. I heard a rumor about another local arts leader who may not have left his organization by choice, but may have been fired.

Speaking of comings and goings (mostly goings), there's been movement at the top of quite a few major arts organizations around here.

Music Director Donald Runnnicles is leaving San Francisco Opera to take up a music director post in Scotland.

The Magic Theatre's artistic director, Chris Smith, is leaving to pursue other projects.

Ashley Wheater is leaving San Francisco Ballet to become artistic director at The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago.

Meanwhile, Marco Barricelli, a former A.C.T. core acting company member, is joining Shakespeare Santa Cruz as its new artistic director.

There are probably a few more comings and goings I could mention, but these are the ones that spring immediately to mind.

Change is good. Keeps things vital. Then again, it can be traumatic for all concerned. Here's hoping the transitions go smoothly.

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Chloe Veltman


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