Salamander Theatre for Young Audiences names new Artistic Director

Salamander Theatre for Young Audiences has named Kate Smith as their new artistic director following the retirement of Chris McLeod earlier this summer.

From Official Press Release: 

August 17, 2012

Ottawa, ON (Canada) - The Board of Directors for Salamander Theatre for Young Audiences announces the retirement of Artistic Director Chris McLeod, after 12 years at the creative helm of the company. The Board has named local creator/performer Kate Smith as his replacement.

Of McLeod’s time with the company, long time Board member Alison Atkins said: “Chris has seen Salamander through fluid transitions over his dozen years with us.  He always brought an incredible energy, creative innovation – establishing a core company in 2010 – and a professional dedication to the viability of the company that has enabled us to weather challenges, and mature our programing. Chris’s deep understanding of how we make magic with theatre for young audiences will continue, as he has agreed to join our Board of Directors.”

“It was a great privilege for me to work with Salamander, both as an actor and a director,” McLeod said. “The energy of the school performances and workshops was always invigorating and the artists I have had the opportunity to work with have always been some of the best in the city. I’m excited to see where Kate will take the company next!”

Incoming Artistic Director Kate Smith has been working with Salamander since 2008, and has been a Core Company member for the past two seasons. Well-known in the local theatre community, and having worked with numerous theatre companies in the city, Kate was a 2011 Prix Rideau Award nominee for her performance in SevenThirty Productions’ The 39 Steps last fall. Most recently she appeared as Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Bianca in Othello at the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival. In addition to her work as a performer, she is an acting and movement instructor, and is a graduate of Dalhousie University in Halifax.

“I am thrilled to be taking on the Artistic leadership  of Ottawa’s premiere English-language children’s theatre company,” says Smith. “I always learn so much from young audiences, and I am excited to take the company in a fresh direction this year.  We are offering a number of new productions this season, and are looking forward to working with a company comprised of some of Ottawa’s hottest young theatre artists. It’s going to be a big year for Salamander.”

“We are thrilled to have Kate’s enthusiasm emerge from her talented acting contributions to the Company over the past years, to bring an innovative, fresh approach to our upcoming season,” Atkins said. “Kate’s vision for Salamander’s evolution in the coming year builds on successful concepts, and a dynamic vibrancy that has us all excited. She clearly articulates a strategy for optimizing company talent, deepening our artistic quality, and enlivening Salamander’s contributions to live theater experiences for children and teens across the city.”

Salamander will be launching their 2012-2013 season on October 14th, 2012, with the premiere performance of MacBeth at the Gladstone Theatre. The coming season will also see Salamander partner with the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama to present public performances throughout the year.

Salamander Theatre also announces the renewal of Managing Director Natalie Dalton, who has been with the company since 2004. Natalie continues in team formation with Kate, keeping the Company vibrant.

About Salamander Theatre for Young Audiences
Founded in 1993, Salamander Theatre was created to bring professional level theatrical performances and drama-in-education workshops to children and youth of all ages, and to provide curriculum based educational resources to teachers throughout the Ottawa region.

Salamander brings top quality shows to school, festival and community settings, and also provides a host of adult and youth classes, long-term training projects, and issue-related forum theatre projects with marginalized communities. Today the company has expanded its scope and Salamander’s professional artists regularly perform throughout Ontario.

Visit Salamander Theatre online.

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