AMERICAN THEATRE | Derek Charles Livingston Named Stages Artistic Director

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AMERICAN THEATRE | Derek Charles Livingston Named Stages Artistic Director

Derek Charles Livingston. (Photo by Square Shooting.)

HOUSTON: Stages has named Derek Charles Livingston their new artistic director. Livingston will take over when current artistic director Kenn McLaughlin steps down at the end of June after 25 seasons.

“Derek is a demonstrated arts and civic visionary, a walking encyclopedia of theatre history, an expert in developing new, groundbreaking works, and an exuberant cheerleader for how the American regional theatre can continue to be relevant and vital to our communities,” Stages board president and emeritus George C. Lancaster said in a statement.  “We are excited to see how Derek will take Stages to the next level, reach even more Houstonians, and continue to develop our profile as a regional and national leader.”

Livingston is leaving his role as director of new-play development at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, where he has served since 2021. He also served as the organization’s interim artistic director from June 2022 to November 2023, directing the festival’s first production of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. Livingston also previously served as the managing artistic director of Celebration Theatre and has worked extensively as an actor and in new-play development.

“Throughout my career, I have intentionally sought out works that engage the soul and spark thought-provoking conversations. As the next artistic director of Stages, I look forward to building on this philosophy,” Livingston said in a statement. “Not only is Stages a powerhouse of artistic expression, it also embraces diverse voices and multiple genres as part of its well-rounded annual seasons. I intend to ensure we continue in this direction to fully engage audiences and maintain theatrical excellence.”

McLaughlin announced his impending retirement at the end of the 2023 season. He has served 18 seasons as artistic director. Livingston will relocate to Houston in August.

Stages makes plays and tells stories that invite everyone to live more deeply and love more boldly. As Houston’s sixth-largest nonprofit performing arts producer, Stages produces approximately 12 productions annually, drawing over 75,000 visitors per season. As of 2023, the theatre’s budget was approximately $6.5 million.

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