Washington College is proud to host Molly Smith, famed former Artistic Director for the Arena Stage in Washington D.C., to give a talk on her 25 years at one of America’s most important theaters. Hosted by the Department of Theatre and Dance, the talk promises to delight attendees as Smith shares stories from decades backstage as well as her trials and successes as the first woman artistic director of a major regional theater in the United States.Smith will grace the Decker Theater’s stage in Washington College’s Gibson Center for the Arts at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31. The event is free to and open to the public.A leader in new play development for over 40 years, Smith’s storied career at the Arena spans from 1998 to 2023 fostering the works of new American plays, playwrights, and voices, producing 200 works. In addition, she helped originate 150 works by workshops and commissions at the Arena. Her more than 30 directing credits at Arena Stage include large-scale musicals, new plays, and classics; most recently My Body No Choice, Catch Me If You Can, Celia and Fidel and Newsies. Her directorial work has also been seen around the country and Canada, including on Broadway (2014, The Velocity of Autumn) and off-Broadway (2018, The Originalist), and Perseverance Theater in Juneau, Alaska, which she founded and ran from 1979-1998.Smith is a great champion of new work. She led the re-invention of Arena Stage through the creation of the Mead Center for American Theater and positioning Arena Stage as a national center for American artists. Arena’s Power Plays Cycle will commission 25 writers over 10 years on stories of American politics and power from 1776 to the present decade.During the COVID-19 pandemic, she developed the concept for two online films, May 22, 2020, and The 51st State, overseeing the production direction as well as directing pieces within the films. She also spearheaded a variety of other new online content, including a weekly talk show Molly’s Salon, during the live performance hiatus.
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