Emily Morse is Named the New Artistic Director of New Dramatists

April 30, 2014

New Dramatists, Tony® Honor recipient and the nation's premiere playwright development workshop, announces that Emily Morse will assume the position of Artistic Director beginning in July. Morse, on staff at New Dramatists since 2001 and currently serving as Director of Artistic Development, assumes the position from Todd London who leaves New Dramatists after eighteen years to become the Executive Director/Professor of Drama at the University of Washington where he’ll oversee undergraduate, MFA and PhD programs, training and productions. London's appointment is awaiting final approval by the university Board of Regent's.

“I’ve been blessed to work with a uniquely devoted, compassionate and process-attuned staff, a loving, steadfast board, and thousands of the most gifted artists in New York, all in the service of hundreds of our nation’s finest playwrights,” says Todd London. “Emily Morse works with playwrights better than anyone I’ve encountered - it’s a joy to know she will be joining Joel Ruark to lead the place I care so much about.”

“Todd has a singular capacity for listening, he makes us feel renewed of purpose time and again,” says Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and alumna New Dramatists resident playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes (Water by the Spoonful, In the Heights). New Dramatists Board Chairman Seth Gelblum agrees, "We are sad to lose Todd, who has been so instrumental to the support we have provided to our resident playwrights over the last 18 years. Fortunately, he leaves us Emily Morse.”

“Emily has already been a partner to Todd and me in so many ways that it seems redundant to announce her as such,” says Executive Director Joel K. Ruark. “Emily’s expertise benefits New Dramatists immeasurably, where resident playwrights self-direct their artistic discoveries, emboldened by Emily’s incisive guidance.”

Six years ago, Emily was identified internally as the natural and appropriate choice to succeed Todd London. Over the past several years, with the blessing of New Dramatists’ Board and in collaboration with the organization’s Playwright Executive Committee, a succession plan was established. “To work in the company of the most creative, eclectic, vibrant community of playwrights and artists; alongside Todd and Joel and a passionate, dedicated staff from whom I learn every day IS living the dream,” says Emily Morse. “We have a solid foundation thanks to inspired leadership on which to grow, expand, discover, and continue.”

“That Emily Morse grabs the baton feels both natural and exciting, for she is one of the most patient and honed readers of new plays I've known,” says Hudes. “In a culture where growth, speed, and product are valued above all, Todd and Emily embrace the deep value in process and the timelessness of plays.”

To learn more about Emily Morse and download a high-res image, visit newdramatists.org/emily-morse

Emily Morse is a theatre artist whose career has spanned 25 years, and has encompassed performing, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy, devising, producing, arts administration, curating and artistic consulting at theatres and companies of all sizes, including Philadelphia Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, New York Theatre Workshop, LMDA, Ping Chong and Co, NADA, LEMA productions, HERE, the Wilma, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, JAW/West Festival – Portland Center Stage, Creative Time, Ripe Time, Cincinnati Playhouse, Culture Project/Women Center Stage, PlayPenn, 13P, Drama League New Directors/New Works, Links Hall, and Re/Union Company at LaMaMa. A veteran theatre artist with a specialty in process-oriented devised work, Emily is a Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab alumna and NYTW Usual Suspect. She has participated in, and benefitted from, a variety of workshops, including: Choreography for Directors (Annie-B Parson); Butoh (Dawn Akemi Saito); Viewpoints (J. Ed Araiza); Critical Response and Movement/Stage Composition (Liz Lerman); playwriting (Eduardo Machado, Suzan-Lori Parks, Karen Hartman); BIG Artist (Chris Wells/Karen Hartman); and Third Bohemia (Todd London and Z Space). An avid dance fan, she has practiced various forms, including study of Swing, Argentine Tango, and Flamenco. Emily’s love affair with New Dramatists began in 2000 when she was one of four directors-in-residence for the 2001 season. She joined the staff full-time in July 2001. Emily’s New Dramatists credits include her substantive shaping of PlayTime: her extensive experience with new work development directly impacted the trajectory of this two-week studio, which has a high success rate for developing ambitious new projects and launching them into productive professional lives. In 2008, Emily helped formulate and direct two formidable new projects, FULL STAGE USA and The Creativity Fund. Under Emily’s direction since its inception, the Creativity Fund has blossomed into one of the most sought-after ND programs by resident writers, with 14 to 17 Fund projects every season. Over half of these projects garner outside producer interest and often result in full productions. Emily serves on the Advisory Board for PlayPenn and New Georges' Kitchen Cabinet; has served on numerous new play development panels, including her Playwright Leadership panel presented during the 2012 Humana Festival, and her service on TCG’s inaugural Leadership U[niversity] Program. Other field contributions include her introduction to America Dreaming and Other Plays, a collection of plays by Chiori Miyagawa published by NoPassport Press, and the HowlRound-published Chiori Miyagawa interview Reunion: Why Do They Keep Coming Back? In May 2010, in recognition of her stature as a playwright advocate and significant contributions as a dramaturg, Emily received an inaugural Lilly Award for Advocacy. A graduate of Temple University, Emily lives in Brooklyn with her husband Gary and their son, Lincoln.

New Dramatists is dedicated to the playwright and serves a singular mission: To provide playwrights with time, space and resources in the company of gifted peers to create work, realize their artistic potential, and make lasting contributions to the theatre. Founded in 1949, New Dramatists is one of the country’s leading playwright centers and a nationally recognized new play laboratory, unrivaled in the depth and duration of its commitment to playwrights. In the 65 years since its founding, over 600 new dramatists have passed through its doors, including many whose work laid the foundations of the contemporary American theatre.


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