Artists Repertory Theatre (Artists Rep) has selected Jeanette Harrison as Artistic Director, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). She began her tenure on October 1, 2022.
An experienced theater professional, Harrison joins Artists Rep after nearly 20 years at AlterTheater. As its Co-Founder and Artistic Director, she was responsible for steering all aspects of AlterTheater, including selecting the season (with Ensemble of artists), consciously casting actors, hiring directors and designers, negotiating with unions, grant writing and fundraising, budgeting, and audience and board development. Harrison ensured that community engagement and social justice informed AlterTheater; all commissioned work began with sitting down with Native American elders in community. Additional partnering groups included: Marin American Indian Alliance, Latino Council, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Marin, Marin Literacy Program, Senior Access, Marin Abused Women’s Services, Victims Advocate of the District Attorney’s Office, YMCA Youth Court for Restorative Justice, St. Vincent de Paul, Homeward Bound, Ritter Center, among others.
Under Harrison’s leadership, AlterTheater launched the Arts Learning Project, a performing arts education program with Native youth in partnership with Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone. Designed, led, and implemented by an all-Native team, the program helped Native students build resiliency and self-advocacy skills, and also nurtured relationships among professional working artists. AlterTheater also launched the award-winning AlterLab, a new play development and production program aimed at supporting a diverse group of artists in a yearlong residency allowing them to take creative risks. AlterLab writers have been 85% women and two-thirds have been writers of color. These consistent efforts prevailed; AlterTheater has been recognized with 11 Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards, and four Theatre Bay Area Awards, as well as multiple nominations.
Prior to AlterTheater, she served as Global Age Project Coordinator at Aurora Theatre Company, Resident Casting Director at Golden Thread Productions, and held Education and Conservatory Directorships at Marin Theater Company. She was an Adjunct Faculty/Guest Director at University of Southern California and was Guest Lecturer at Santa Clara University (Acting for Non-Majors), Dominican University, and College of Marin. Harrison holds a bachelor of arts degree in English literature from the University of Chicago.
In making the announcement, Artists Rep Board Chair Pancho Savery said, “ART was the first LORT theatre in the United States to hire a Latino Artistic Director; a leading-edge decision. ART continues its commitment to break new ground and create space for extraordinary theatre from new voices by hiring Jeanette.”
“I look forward to finding more ways for Artists Rep to be a creative problem-solver for issues facing our local community,” said Harrison. “I’m especially looking forward to building more relationships between Artists Rep and community groups working to make Portland a better, more equitable, more just, place to live and work.”
“Congratulations to the search committee, board, and staff of Artists Rep on the announcement of Jeanette Harrison as the new Artistic Director,” said ACG Senior Vice President Wyona Lynch-McWhite. “Harrison brings a dedication for transforming productions through sociocultural sensitivity, as well as extensive knowledge in the theater arena. We are excited to see what the future holds for Artists Rep with Harrison helping to lead the way.”