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Diversionary Theatre hires Executive Artistic Director

SAN DIEGO, California -- Diversionary Theatre has hired Matt Morrow as its new Executive Artistic Director. Morrow fills the position that has been covered by Todd Nelms in the interim.

The position was vacated last November following the resignation of John Alexander.

Nelms sent the following letter to Diversionary Theatre patrons announcing Morrow's hire.

Dear Diversionary Theatre Patrons & Friends,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and Diversionary Theatre’s staff, I am excited to announce that we have selected Mr. Matt Morrow to join the Diversionary team as our new Executive Artistic Director. Matt accepted the Board’s offer and will take his place at the helm of Diversionary in mid-November, bringing to the job extensive experience in directing, financial development, and a stint as the Associate Artistic Director of Pittsburgh’s City Theatre Company.

Matt was selected after a months-long search that started with our receiving almost 60 resumes from as far away as Hong Kong and South Africa. We were thrilled to realize the reputation and scope of Diversionary’s work and see the high quality of applications it produced. After an initial screening of those applications, the Search Committee, led by Board Vice President Darrell Netherton and composed of 3 board members (Darrell, Tamara Keller and myself) and well respected members of the San Diego arts community (Marcus Overton, Camille Davidson, Bill Eadie, Rob Granat and Larry Baza), met in July to identify the top 10 candidates. The top candidates were then interviewed via phone, and the top 3 candidates (“the best of the best” in our view) came to the theater to meet with the staff, the Search Committee and the entire board.

After this extensive screening & review process, the Search Committee recommended Matt to the theater’s Board of Trustees, and he was overwhelmingly approved.

Matt will be relocating from New York where he has held various Theatre positions including Associate Artistic Director, Development and New Works Director. Matt’s dedication to theater and the LGBT community made him the perfect choice for Diversionary at a time when we have recently completed our strategic planning and re-affirmed our mission to provide an inspiring and thought provoking theatrical platform to explore complex and diverse LGBT stories, which influence the larger cultural discussion.

I have been honored to serve as the Acting Executive Artistic Director of Diversionary since October 3, 2013, as well as now serving as the President of the theater's Board of Trustees, but I am eagerly looking forward to Matt’s arrival. We looked for a candidate with a keen knowledge of evolved LGBT theatrical productions, fundraising prowess, experience in developing new works, and excellent leadership and communication skills. I believe we found all of this and more in Matt. We all believe that he will lead our theater in a bold new direction.

I am excited to personally introduce Matt to you in the next few months. Please check your emails for the event announcements. I hope you will join me in welcoming Matt to San Diego and to the Diversionary Theatre family.

Sincerely,

Todd Nelms
Executive Artistic Director (Acting)

Morrow will begin his role in mid-November, and will be relocating to San Diego from New York.

Update

Since SDGLN published the article, Diversionary has updated information about their new artistic leader:

San Diego’s Diversionary Theatre, one of the nation’s longest running LGBT theater production companies, is proud to announce the selection of a new Executive Artistic Director, after a months’ long nation-wide search. Mr. Matt Morrow will take his place at the helm of the theater in November, bringing to the job extensive experience in directing, financial development, and a stint as the Associate Artistic Director of Pittsburgh’s City Theatre Company.

Todd Nelms, who has been the Acting Executive Artistic Director of Diversionary since October 3, 2013, as well as serving as the President of the theater’s Board of Trustees since July, noted that “We looked for a candidate with a keen knowledge of evolved LGBT theatrical productions, fundraising prowess, experience in developing new works, and excellent leadership and communication skills. In Mr. Morrow, we believe we found all of this and more. We firmly believe that he will lead our theater in a bold new direction.”

Reached in New York, where he is wrapping up other directing and teaching commitments before taking the reins at Diversionary, Mr. Morrow had this to say about his goals for the future of the company:

“I look forward to building upon the theatre’s commitment to new work and writers locally and from all over the world. New play development and production opportunities in this country are waning; I want to further develop Diversionary as a haven for writers and their work. I want to deepen and explore new work development models to find a better way to serve the writer beyond an endless cycle of staged readings. I also look forward to exploring new modes of management and production to support the work with the dedicated staff and board of Diversionary, all of whom are deeply committed to the organization. My central goal is to continue to grow the organization in a holistic way that is sensible and at the service of the artist.”

On future programming on-stage:

“I’m most excited about producing new plays and musicals that push theatrical boundaries, but also rarely seen classic work, and re-envisioning this work for today’s audience via the LGBT point of view. I’m attracted to work that explores what the LGBT experience means at this moment in time, both directly and indirectly. I’m interested in opening up the dialogue between the LGBT community and the community at large in an inclusive, thought provoking way that reveals our similarities and honors our differences. ”

Mr. Morrow’s candidacy was brought forward by a Search Committee headed by Diversionary Board Vice President, Darrell Netherton, and included Nelms and Tamara Keller from the theater’s Board of Trustees, as well as six talented and accomplished community arts leaders: Larry Baza, Camille Davidson, Bill Eadie, Rob Granat, Sean Murray, and Marcus Overton. They advertised the position widely, and eventually received almost 60 applications from all over the United States, and from as far away as Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, and South Africa. Through this process, the Search Committee succeeded in developing a broad and extremely talented pool of candidates,and Mr. Morrow was overwhelmingly picked as the “best of the bunch.”

Mr. Morrow’s Bio: Matt's work as a director has been seen at the Sundance Theatre Institute, The Banff Centre, 3LD, American Conservatory Theater, Lincoln Center Theatre, Page 73 Productions in residence at the Yale School of Drama, Bricolage Production Company, Playwrights Horizons, Urban Stages, EST, HERE, Dixon Place, The York, The Tank, NYC Int'l Fringe, among others. Matt served as Associate Artistic Director of City Theatre Company 2011-2014, where he directed the regional premiere of Jessica Dickey’s CHARLES IVES TAKE ME HOME, Kim Rosenstock's TIGERS BE STILL, and the World Premiere of Tami Dixon's SOUTH SIDE STORIES, which was cited in every Top Ten list in the region. Prior to joining City Theatre, Matt was based in Brooklyn where he held the position of Development and Literary Director of Amas Musical Theatre, Development Director of Cherry Lane Theatre and Development Manager for The Play Company. Matt also served as The John Wells Professor of Directing at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama, and is a member of the Lincoln Center Director's Lab. He holds a BFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Additional information about Diversionary Theatre is HERE.