In early 2008, approaching his fourth decade as a working artist, Ping Chong began cutting back on his workload to ease into eventual retirement. Ping was the founder and artistic director of Ping Chong & Company, a nonprofit theater company based in New York City known for experimental, daring, and socially conscious work. After three years working as an independent artist, Ping founded the company to support his artistic endeavors and generated and directed the bulk of the company’s artistic work, which included two distinct branches of programming – Ping’s large multidisciplinary projects utilized several artistic disciplines in fully-produced theatrical productions; and the Undesirable Elements series examined “issues of culture and identity of individuals who are outsiders within their mainstream community” through interview-based, documentary-style theater pieces.
While 10 or 15 years might pass before Ping would retire, planning for that eventuality had come to the forefront of the minds of not only Ping, but also the other four members of the company’s staff, as well as the Board of Directors, and the company’s collaborating artists. While closing the doors seemed a distant and uncertain possibility, all options would be considered.
The company’s stakeholders agreed to consider the steps necessary to continue the company’s mission and Ping’s artistic vision, but would also have to consider the company’s programming in their decision. “I think the challenge really for us moving forward is how do we become less dependent on Ping’s creative energy so that he can do the projects that he wants to do” over the next few years, stated Bruce Allardice, the company’s managing director. (See Exhibit 1 for full staff biographies.)
Ping found it increasingly difficult to lead a company that relied on him alone for artistic ideas and project creation. “It’s a wonderful family,” Ping said. “We have a great team now. But if it’s dependent only on me it may be a little difficult just because I don’t have the stamina or the resources I had before.”
This case contains a video link.
Publication Date: 2012-05-15
Suggested Citation: Jennifer Lagundino, "Ping Chong & Company (2008)," Yale Theater Management Knowledge Base Case Study #11-42, May 15, 2012
Keywords: New York, Leadership, Succession, Organizational Direction
Teaching Notes: No
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 email@example.com.