This Week in the Mercury


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christopher Stowell Resigns from OBT

Posted by Alison Hallett on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Huge news in the local arts community this morning: Oregon Ballet Theatre's longtime artistic director Christopher Stowell just announced his resignation from the company he's helmed since 2003.

Here's the statement from this morning's press release:

“After careful consideration and thoughtful reflection, I have submitted my resignation as Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre effective at the end of December. OBT’s Board of Trustees has determined that the organization must adopt a new business model and, after much thought, I have come to the conclusion that I am not the best candidate to lead OBT into that future.

To our dedicated audiences, I want to say thank you for your support of my work during my time at OBT. I believe that classical ballet, as an art form, has a great deal to offer this community and hope that you will continue to support OBT as an audience member and donor for many years to come. It has been the greatest honor of my life to work with everyone at Oregon Ballet Theatre. As I move on to new challenges and new frontiers, my experiences at OBT will go with me and for that you have my thanks.”

Read between the lines: Money troubles. (Just three years ago, the company went begging to the local and national dance community to stay afloat.) For more analysis of Stowell's legacy and his departure, you're gonna wanna hit Oregon Arts Watch, where Bob Hicks has an in-depth piece about the announcement.

A tangentially related bit of news that got lost in the weekend holiday shuffle: On Friday Artists Rep announced that Jon Kretzu will resign as Associate Artistic Director, alongside departing Artistic Director Allen Nause. This is really interesting news, especially given that much of the criticism of Artists Rep over the past few years—from me and others—is that they need to let someone other than Kretzu or Nause direct a dang play. Can't wait to see who they tap to replace the pair, as it'll have huge implications for Portland theater in the coming years.

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