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After 21 years, Susan V. Booth will leave the Alliance to join Goodman Theatre as Artistic Director

After 21 years as the Alliance Theatre’s Jennings Hertz Artistic Director, Susan V. Booth will leave her role at the Alliance to join Chicago’s Goodman Theatre as Artistic Director.  Booth will finish her tenure by co-directing the regional premiere of the acclaimed play, Everybody, which begins previews September 2. Her last day with the Alliance is September 16.

“Atlanta and The Alliance have been the most extraordinary artistic home,” said Booth.  “Working with an intrepid and fearless board, a deeply invested philanthropic community, and on a campus with world class cultural partners has been a profound gift.  I so look forward to watching The Alliance's next big adventure and know my colleagues – quite simply the finest staff of theatre practitioners I know – will take the theatre to greater and greater heights of service, inclusion, and excellence.”

During her tenure, Booth championed new works and established programs to support emerging playwrights and artists, both locally and nationally, leading the Alliance to produce more than 85 world premieres including six musicals that transferred to Broadway.  Booth has been a champion of education initiatives, developing family programming and in-school, theater-based curriculums designed to support teachers and enhance student learning, that have led the Alliance to become a national model for theater education. Booth also led the Alliance through its largest capital campaign to transform the theater’s main performance space, opening The Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theatre during its 50th anniversary season. During the renovation of the Coca-Cola Stage, Booth led the Alliance to produce an “On the Road” season, performing 12 productions in 14 different venues around the city of Atlanta, embedding the Alliance within several distinct communities.  Booth worked to diversify the Alliance’s programming, staff, and board to best serve and reflect the diverse community of Atlanta, including creating leadership opportunities for BIPOC theater-makers.

“As the Alliance’s longest-serving Artistic Director, Susan has shaped the Alliance into the nationally-recognized standard of excellence in American theater that it is today,” said Hala Moddelmog, President and CEO of The Woodruff Arts Center.  “We thank Susan for her visionary and courageous leadership over the past 21 years and wish her every success in her future tenure with The Goodman.”

Under Booth’s leadership, the Alliance received the 2007 Regional Theatre Tony Award for sustained excellence in programming, education, and community engagement.  Over the past two decades, Booth directed over 40 productions and developed:

  • The Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition – a program that has supported the early careers of some of today’s most exciting playwrights and writers including Tarell Alvin McCraney, Mike Lew, Madhuri Shekar, Alix Sobler, and Jireh Breon Holder
  • The Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab – a program that provides developmental resources for three performance projects selected from the Atlanta artistic community each season
  • The Palefsky Collision Project – a summer program where Atlanta teens develop a new play under the direction of a professional playwright and director
  • The Spelman Leadership Fellowship – a partnership with Spelman College to address the lack of diversity in top leadership roles in major American theaters, giving three students annually artistic and executive leadership opportunities and experience

“Susan Booth and I first worked together when she directed my play The Nacirema Society..., which required us to spend a month together rehearsing and getting to know each other in Montgomery, Alabama,” said Pearl Cleage, Playwright, Novelist, and Alliance Theatre’s Distinguished Artist in Residence. “By the time the play opened we had bonded over early morning coffee, late night white wine, and conversations that covered not just the script, but race, feminism, family, and a deep love for the life we had chosen, a life in the theatre. In the afterglow of an opening night complete with a full house and a standing ovation, we made two promises to each other; to work together again soon and to always tell each other the truth. We've kept both of those promises for 21 years and counting. "Susan Booth's impact will be felt for as long as there is an Alliance Theatre, but what I will miss most as a playwright, is her presence in the rehearsal hall where she is unfailingly generous with the many gifts she brings to each and every collaboration as an artist and as a human being. For that, my gratitude is boundless.”

“On behalf of the Alliance’s Board of Directors, we are deeply grateful to Susan for the dedication and artistry she brought to this role for so many years. Her legacy will always be felt here,” said Jocelyn Hunter, Alliance Theatre Board of Directors Chair.  “As we look towards the next chapter at the Alliance, we remain dedicated to the theater’s mission of expanding hearts and minds, on stage and off.”

The Board of Directors will conduct a national search for the Alliance’s next Artistic Director. During the search, Associate Artistic Directors Christopher Moses and Tinashe Kajese-Bolden will manage artistic initiatives at the Alliance under the leadership of Managing Director, Mike Schleifer.  


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