TheatreWorks Silicon Valley founder and Artistic Director Robert Kelley will retire at the end of the company's 2019/2020 season (its 50th), he announced in a press release this week.
He is, according to TheatreWorks, believed to be the longest-running artistic director at an American regional theater company.
The cheerful, pony-tailed Kelley founded TheatreWorks in 1970 (shortly after he graduated from Stanford University) and has directed more than 170 of the company's 426 productions.
TheatreWorks' board of trustees will begin the national search for Kelley's successor this year, allowing plenty of time for the transition after the company's 50th-anniversary season in 2019-2020.
"I’m healthy, I still love making theater, and I intend to remain active in support of the company. But I believe the half-century mark is a timely and appropriate moment for TheatreWorks to embrace new leadership to continue our growth into the future. Following retirement, I hope to remain active with the company, and look forward to being a part in its future growth under a new artistic leader," Kelley stated in the press release.
Under Kelley's leadership, TheatreWorks has expanded from an experimental youth troupe to the third-largest theater company in the Bay Area, boasting a number of world and regional premieres (including "Memphis," which went on to Broadway and won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical), an annual new-works festival and educational programs that reach 25,000 students each year.
For more information, go to TheatreWorks.