Theatre Calgary's board of directors is pleased to announce that Associate Artistic Director Shari Wattling has been named Interim Artistic Director, effective September 12, 2016. She will replace Dennis Garnhum, who announced in June that he will become Artistic Director of The Grand Theatre in London, ON, later this year.
"I am thrilled that Shari Wattling has agreed to become the interim artistic director," says Garnhum. "She has been incredibly loyal and invaluable in celebrating and expanding the artistic ideas of this company over the past decade in her position as associate artistic director. I know the team at Theatre Calgary values and respects Shari and so I have no doubt that the company will continue to thrive during her tenure as interim artistic director. "
"I'm extremely proud and passionate about the work we present on stage at Theatre Calgary, and creating meaningful connections with our audience and our entire city," says Wattling. "I'm greatly looking forward to a wonderful 2016-17 season, and leading the plans for a thrilling 50th anniversary season in the year to come."
Wattling has had a leading role in Theatre Calgary’s programing and five-year artistic vision, as well as the expansion of education and outreach (interACTive) programs. As curator of FUSE: The Enbridge New Play Development Program, she has overseen the creative development of seven new play premieres at Theatre Calgary: W.O. Mitchell’s Jake and the Kid, Skydive, Beyond Eden, Lost – A Memoir, A Christmas Carol, Pride and Prejudice, and Liberation Days. Over more than 25 years as a professional director, producer, dramaturg and actor, Shari has worked with a wide variety of companies including Bard on the Beach, Vertigo Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, Theatre Calgary, Stage West, Lunchbox Theatre, Forte Musical Theatre, Blacklist Theatre Project, Quest Theatre, Swallow-A-Bicycle, Shadow Productions and Dirty Laundry – Calgary’s improvised soap-opera.
Theatre Calgary Board Chair Chadwick Newcombe adds "The Board of Directors is delighted that Shari will serve as Theatre Calgary's interim artistic director. Shari has been a valuable and respected member of Theatre Calgary's team and the Calgary arts community for many years. We can think of nobody better suited to keeping the artistic vision and integrity of Theatre Calgary intact during the search for our next artistic director."
Theatre Calgary Executive Director Colleen A. Smith, echoes those sentiments. “Shari is tremendously respected amongst the Theatre Calgary team and throughout the artistic community. With her passion for theatre, continual advocacy and support of local talent, and dedication to the future of our company – I cannot think of a better partner to work with as Theatre Calgary moves forward into our 50th anniversary season.”
Garnhum, Theatre Calgary's longest-serving artistic director, will leave the company on September 9, 2016. Theatre Calgary's board of directors have created a formal search committee, and will begin an extensive search to choose a permanent successor for Garnhum. More news will be released in the coming months.