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Berkeley Repertory Theatre and BRT School of Theatre (2016)

Berkeley Repertory Theatre and BRT School of Theatre (2016)

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Yale School of Drama
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In the midst of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s (Berkeley Rep’s) 2015-2016 season, the Director of the School of Theatre (the School), Rachel Fink—who had been hired by Managing Director Susan Medak to create a vision for the School upon its creation in 2001—announced that she would be leaving her position. In its 15 years the School had grown to include classes, outreach workshops, a one-act play festival, a summer intensive, public and private school residency programs, a fellowship program, and the Teen Council. Fink created the Teen Council, a teen leadership group composed of eager teenage theater artists who wanted to make art and take on a more active role, not only in their own work but also in the work on Berkeley Rep’s stages. Within the staff of Berkeley Rep and the School, the Teen Council was considered a success. This council was fully embraced by Medak and Artistic Director Tony Taccone, and was integrated into season planning for both the School and Berkeley Rep each season.

Pleased with the integration of the Teen Council with Berkeley Rep’s artistic work, Fink wished the theatre would take more pride in and participate in the other programs the School offered. Fink had envisioned further integrating the School’s programs with the work of the Berkeley Rep Theatre. However, Medak and Taccone were ambivalent about the relationship between the School and the theatre. At a time when Berkeley Rep was approaching its 50th season, Medak focused her attention on accomplishing a variety of goals beyond the needs of the School: a CREATE capital campaign for $50 million; the subsidizing of the playwright development program The Ground Floor; and the hiring and transitioning of a variety of new staff members into varying roles of the organization. When Fink resigned in January of 2016. Medak sought to hire a new director for the School. She needed to consider what the future of the School would look like and how a new director might build off of Fink’s established programming.

In January 2016 Berkeley Rep posted the job notice for a new director of the BRT School of Theatre. The post stated, “Reporting jointly to the Managing and Artistic Directors, the new Director will have the opportunity to re-imagine significant portions of the Theatre’s community-centered programs.”

How should a new director re-imagine the School of Theatre? How would Medak know that whatever was re-imagined was the right choice for the future of the School and Berkeley Rep?

Publication Date: 2016-05-15

Suggested Citation: Emily Reeder, "Berkeley Repertory Theatre and BRT School of Theatre (2016)," Yale Theater Management Knowledge Base Case Study #14-74, May 15, 2016

Keywords: California, Arts Education, Children, Leadership Transition, Organizational Direction

Teaching Notes: Yes (contact yaletmknowledgebase@yale.edu)

About the Theater Management Knowledge Base

This case is from the Theater Management Knowledge Base, a body of arts management material created by Yale School of Drama Theater Management students and faculty, overseen by an editorial board of leading practitioners. For more information or for help in selecting cases suitable for your educational or organizational purposes, please email yaletmknowledgebase@yale.edu.