Ryan Rilette, Producing Director of California’s Marin Theatre Company, will be the new Producing Artistic Director of Round House Theatre, the company announced yesterday.
Rilette will succeed Blake Robison, who steps down after a seven-year tenure.
In addition to his Marin Theatre Company post, Rilette serves as President of the Board of the National New Play Network, which champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays for the American theater.
Rilette’s New Play Network post reflects his longstanding interest in pioneering new plays. At Marin he produced world premieres of Bellwether by Steve Yockey and Magic Forest Farm by Zayd Dohrn; in his previous work at New Orleans’ Southern Rep Theater, he commissioned and produced Rising Water by John Biguenet (which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize) and The Breach by Tarell Alvin McCraney, Catherine Filloux, and Joe Sutton.
Rilette’s appointment brought satisfaction to Robison, who will leave Round House to become artistic director for Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park. ““I am thrilled with Ryan’s appointment,” Robison said. “He brings tremendous artistic and managerial experience to the table. As Round House looks to the future, I can’t think of a better person for the job. Congratulations to everyone on this important occasion!”
Robison’s tenure was marked by his persistent effort to stage theatrical versions of fine novels. In some instances, such as his adaptations of Charming Billy and Crime and Punishment, his efforts ended in unqualified successes. Other efforts, such as an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Portrait of Dorian Gray, were less successful.
While not committing himself to following the same path, Rilette had high praise for his predecessors. “It’s a great honor to follow in the footsteps of Blake Robison and Jerry Whiddon,” Rilette said. “I’ve long been a fan of both Round House and the DC theater community, and look forward to working with the board and staff to guide Round House through the next phase of its illustrious history.”
Round House Board President Sally J. Patterson credited Robison’s early notice with Round House’s ability to get the Producing Artistic Director it wanted. “Blake’s announcement last fall gave the board the critical time it needed to reflect on what we do well, what we can do better, and where we can grow,” said Sally J. Patterson, President of Round House Theatre’s Board of Trustees. “Ryan embodies our greatest hopes for all our aspirations.”
Rilette will take over at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season.