At the dawn of this new year, I want to share with you the news that Emily Mann, the award-winning playwright and director who has served as our artistic director and resident playwright since 1990, will retire from the position following the 2019-’20 season.

As many of you know first-hand, Emily ushered in an exceptionally robust artistic period that catapulted McCarter to the world stage. Over the course of her 30-year tenure — during which McCarter won the prestigious Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater — she has overseen more than 160 productions, including more than 40 world premieres. But numbers don’t tell the story.

By all accounts, Emily has been a major force in shaping not only McCarter, but the course of American theater at large, as a trailblazing advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. Her passion for nurturing countless emerging and established artists has encouraged their creative expression, challenged convention, and enriched our collective community. Her imprint as a fierce champion of works by women and people of color and as an agent of change is as inspiring as it is indelible. As Emily reflected:

“Three decades ago, McCarter took the brave and bold step of casting a young female artist as its artistic director, long before women writers and directors were widely embraced in American theater. After what has been an extraordinary journey, it is time to pass the torch to the next generation of artistic directors, many of whom I have been privileged to mentor, so that they may impart their own unique signatures at McCarter as I enter a new personal and professional chapter of writing and directing opportunities.”

To pay homage to her monumental tenure here, Emily’s final season, which we will announce in March, will be “Signature Emily” — a capstone series of plays celebrating diverse and emerging artists. We hope you will join us to enjoy what will be a truly memorable theatrical tour de force.

McCarter’s board over the next few months will formalize a process for identifying the theater’s next artistic director, committed to building on Emily’s storied legacy.

— Reginald M. Browne
Interim president, McCarter Board of Trustees

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