Anacostia’s Theater Alliance announced that it has selected Raymond O. Caldwell, its Associate Artistic Direct, to succeed Producing Artistic Director Colin Hovde at its helm next year.
Theater Alliance’s announcement came in an e-mail to its subscribers on Monday.
Caldwell, in addition to being Theater Alliance’s Associate A.D., is a Resident Director and full-time lecturer in Howard University’s Theater Department, a position he will hold through the spring of 2019.
He most recently directed Solas Nua’s The Frederick Douglass Project, an innovative site-specific project on the Yards Marina, within site of the Douglass home. The play explored the civil rights icon’s visit to, and lectures in, Ireland.
As an actor and director, Caldwell has worked all over the world, including closely with Edward Albee and Ntozake Shange. (On his Instagram, Caldwell recalls working with Shange: “One afternoon during the development process, I had a question about a line that she had written, and I found myself sitting in her office basking in the glory that was her mind and art. I’ll forever remember how unapologetically herself she was, how she answered my question with a series of questions, and how intimidating that made her….”) He has also received Arena Stage’s prestigious Allen Lee Hughes Community Engagement Fellowship.
“I am thrilled that Raymond will be serving as the new producing artistic director,” said Hovde, who has served in the post for seven years. “Working with Raymond over the last year and a half I have been continually impressed and wowed by his dedication, clarity of vision and natural ability to inspire others.”
Theater Alliance Board Chair Molly Singer echoed Hovde’s enthusiasm. “Raymond brings nearly a decade of experience, as well as a unique understanding of Theater Alliance and its vision. We look forward to working with him in continuing Theater Alliance’s commitment to creating powerful art and building community in historic Anacostia and beyond.”
Caldwell’s appointment may foreshadow an increased interest in international theater at Theater Alliance. In a 2015 interview with Quiet on the Set magazine, Caldwell expressed excitement about using art as a tool to create conversations, with particular reference to experiences he had in India. “I’ve always been internationally minded. The focus of a great deal of my international travel is creating conversations, using art as a tool,” he said in the interview. “One of the most interesting places I’ve had the opportunity to go is India. Being in India was a life changing experience because you see poverty and the complexity of poverty, while at the same time seeing such wealth and beauty. It’s a series of contradictions artistically, allowing one to see the intermingling of the ugly with the beautiful all at once. That’s really what the meaning of art is right? The mingling of what is hard with what is beautiful. It was profound to me, and it forever changed me.”
While Caldwell may ultimately address theater’s widest vistas, his immediate plans appear to be local. “I look forward to building upon Theater Alliance’s commitment to producing innovative work of the highest artistic caliber — work that asks socially conscious, thought-provoking questions that lead audiences to meaningful conversations,” he said. “I am committed to serving Ward 8 and our Anacostia community, and I look forward to promoting ideas around equity, diversity, and inclusion that will echo throughout our nation’s capital.”
Caldwell received his BFA in acting from the University of Florida and an MFA in acting from Ohio State University. Elliot Bales, who serves as Theater Alliance’s Treasurer, chaired the Search Committee.
He will be directing Dominique Morisseau’s Blood at the Root at Theater Alliance this February.