East West Players (EWP) has selected Snehal Desai as artistic director, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). He took over for outgoing Producing Artistic Director Tim Dang beginning on July 1, 2016.
Mr. Desai was most recently EWP’s associate artistic director, with directorial credits including A Nice Indian Boy, U.S. v. Bhagat Singh Thind, and The Who’s Tommy. At EWP, he also produced the annual EWP Visionary Awards gala, oversaw play submissions as literary manager, managed artistic partnerships with local and regional theaters, and administered the David Henry Hwang Writers Institute, the 2042: See Change National Playwriting Competition, and the New Asian American Musicals initiative. Mr. Desai has directed plays at venues from The Old Globe in San Diego, Boom Arts in Portland, Oregon, and the Old Vic in London and has worked at more than a dozen theaters in New York City. He previously served as resident director of Theater Emory and participated in the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. One of American Theatre magazine’s “20 Theatre Workers You Should Know” and a member of the Inaugural Class of Theater Communications Group’s “Spark” Leadership Program, Mr. Desai received a bachelor of arts degree in theater studies and political science from Emory University and a master of fine arts in directing from the Yale School of Drama.
In making the announcement, Board Co-Chair Daniel Mayeda said, “We are excited that Snehal will be EWP’s next artistic leader. He has a national reputation in the theater world as a fierce proponent of diversity, multi-culturalism, and new Asian American artistic work.” Board Co-Chair Randy Tamura added, “We believe Snehal has the communication and managerial skills, artistic creativity, and dynamic vision for the future of Asian American theater that make him the ideal candidate to lead the organization into its next 50 years.”
“I am deeply humbled and thrilled to be East West Players’ next artistic director,” said Mr. Desai. “EWP has proven time and time again that it is a leader in the American theatrical landscape and that the status quo is not enough. We must keep working to provide artists of color the opportunities and visibility they deserve. I look forward to working with the Los Angeles community, the national theater community, board, artists, staff, and patrons to lead this seminal theater company from its golden anniversary into its next golden era.”
“ACG was honored to work with East West Players in order to fill this pivotal role at such an important organization within the theater industry,” said ACG Vice President Rebekah Lambert. “We wish EWP and Snehal the best as they continue to advance the organization and promote Asian American artists in the Los Angeles community and beyond.”