Portland, OR. Oregon Children’s Theatre (OCT) announced the appointment of Marcella (Marci) Crowson as its Artistic Director. She has worked at Oregon Children’s Theatre for the last 14 years, most recently as the assistant artistic director. Her appointment follows a nationwide search by the Board of Directors.
Crowson was first hired by OCT in 2006, when she was charged with shaping and growing a new partnership between OCT and Kaiser Permanente, The Educational Theatre Program (ETP). ETP continues to be a unique collaboration between the two non-profits, using theater as a tool to prompt thought and dialogue about the everyday decisions that shape the quality of our health and our lives.
In 2016, Crowson stepped into the newly created Associate Artistic Director role at OCT, where she guided the development of new plays for young audiences, assisted in season planning, directed productions, and supported the artistic and community work of the company. She has been instrumental in cultivating a values-driven company culture, and initiating the organization’s work to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion. For the past four years, Crowson has also served as a board member of Theatre for Young Audiences/USA, the national arts advocacy group for the field.
Recent OCT productions directed by Crowson include: Me…Jane: The Dreams & Adventures of Young Jane Goodall; Jason and the Argonauts; Flora & Ulysses; and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Crowson had a direct hand in the commissioning and development of many of OCT’s most popular original scripts, including Timmy Failure: Mistakes were Made; Zombie in Love; and Storm in the Barn.
“Making art with, by, and for children is the best, most meaningful job in the world,” says Crowson. “I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to step into the Artistic Director position at Oregon Children’s Theatre. OCT has been my creative home for the last 14 years. I’ve had the privilege of working alongside the brilliant staff, board, and multitude of artists, teachers, and technicians, immersing myself in an organization that is defined by a legacy of excellence, inspiration, and imagination. It’s an incredible privilege to play a part in forging the next vision for OCT, mindful of our responsibility to our community’s health and vitality, with a continuing investment in new work, while telling great stories onstage that invite us all to imagine and create a brighter future together.”
As Artistic Director, Crowson will work under OCT’s dual leadership model in partnership with Managing Director Ross McKeen, who states, “Marci brings not only a history of accomplishments at OCT, but a strong vision for moving the company forward. I’m excited to collaborate with her on building that future.”
According to OCT’s board president, Amanda Carter-Jura, “Hiring a new Artistic Director is arguably a board’s most important responsibility. From the start, we were committed to conducting a thorough and thoughtful national search. After interviewing a selection of very capable candidates from around the country, Marci emerged as our unanimous choice. We appreciate her artistic vision, her commitment to artistic and educational excellence, her understanding of the staff’s daily and long-term needs, and her deep respect and care for young people.”
About Oregon Children’s Theatre:
Founded in 1988, Oregon Children’s Theatre (OCT) has served well over two million children, teachers, and families. Its mission is to create exceptional theater experiences that transform lives. OCT is Oregon’s largest non-profit professional theater for young audiences and a resident company of Portland’5 Centers for the Arts. Performances are held weekdays for school audiences and on weekends for family audiences. OCT serves more than 120,000 children of all ages each year. OCT offers numerous school services including study guides, teacher professional development opportunities, in-school workshops, and an extensive outreach program. In partnership with Kaiser Permanente, the Educational Theatre Program provides free touring productions that promote healthy living. OCT’s year-round Acting Academy offers theater classes for children ages 3-18 and Young Professionals Company, a mentoring program for teens.
Funding for Oregon Children’s Theatre’s 2019-2020 season is provided in part by the Shubert Foundation, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, the Oregon Arts Commission, and TriMet.