jakub | July 31, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | Eric Ting, Caleb Hammons Join Soho Rep Leadership

Eric Ting (Photo by Santiago Mejia, San Francisco Chronicle) and Caleb Hammons (Photo by Sammy Tunis).

NEW YORK CITY: Soho Repertory Theatre has announced that Eric Ting and Caleb Hammons have been appointed co-directors of the organization, alongside Cynthia Flowers. Beginning in September, they will continue the shared leadership model implemented by Flowers and outgoing directors Sarah Benson and Meropi Peponides.

“I already miss Sarah and Meropi, with whom I shared a deep partnership for more than a decade,” said executive director Cynthia Flowers in a statement. “However, I’ve recently realized how lucky I am to have the chance to dive into a second incredible trio. Eric and Caleb are extraordinary thinkers whose extensive experience is equally matched by their humanity and artistic-centric approach.”

Ting comes to New York after seven years as artistic director of the California Shakespeare Theater, and Hammons, previously a producer at Soho Rep from 2011-13, returns to the theatre after a decade at the Fisher Center at Bard. Their appointment is the result of a 10-month nationwide selection process, conducted by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) and a search committee led by board chair Victoria Meakin, along with board members: playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, author James Gleick, and former Soho Rep Project Number One artist Carmelita Tropicana.

Born in North Dakota but raised in West Virginia, Eric Ting is a theatre and opera director with 16 years of experience in arts leadership. From 2006 to 2015, he served as associate artistic director of Long Wharf Theatre and from 2015 to 2022 as artistic director of Cal Shakes. Ting is a graduate of West Virginia University and the International Actor Training Academy at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Additionally, he has studied puppetry, Lecoq, and Balinese topeng with I Made Djimat.

He received an Obie for his direction of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud to Present a Presentation… (Soho Rep). Other world premieres include Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ The Comeuppance (Signature Theater); Lloyd Suh’s The Far Country (Atlantic Theater Co.); Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: The Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon (The Arts Center NYU Abu Dhabi); and more. Ting has been awarded a TCG New Generations Future Leaders fellowship, a Jerome and Roslyn Milstein Meyer Career Development Prize, a NEFA National Theater Project grant, a MAP Fund Award; and in 2019, he was named one of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ YBCA100. Ting served two terms on the SDC board, and is on the directing faculty of the David Geffen School of Drama.

“From the moment I witnessed Sarah Benson’s production of Blasted, I knew Soho Rep to be a forge for work of remarkable courage, driven by a spirit of innovation and collaborative discourse,” said Ting in a statement. “It’s with that same spirit that Soho Rep has challenged our assumptions about how relationships with artists are sustained, and how arts organizations are held. I am humbled by the work of Sarah Benson and Meropi Peponides, which has so transformed our sense of what’s possible; and honored to be invited to join Caleb and Cynthia as co-leaders of this incredible artistic home. I can think of no better partners as we imagine new possibilities in this tumultuous moment. Soho Rep, not unlike the times we live in, dares us—artists and audiences alike—to leap into the discomforting spaces of the unknown, and towards revelation.”

Caleb Hammons is a Tony and Obie-winning creative producer and curator of performance working between NYC and the Hudson Valley. Their 16 years of experience as a connector and advocate for contemporary ideas and practices in the performing arts has allowed them to forge a proven track record of activating unique collaborations, programs, spaces, and support across disciplines and communities. They were the director of artistic planning and producing at the Fisher Center at Bard, which they joined in 2013. Over the past decade, Hammons has led the development of new works from Justin Peck, Sufjan Stevens, and Jackie Sibblies Drury (Illinois), Daniel Fish (Oklahoma!), Pam Tanowitz (Four Quartets and Song of Songs), Justin Vivian Bond, Meshell Ndegeocello, Tania El Khoury, Sarah Michelson, and many others.

Prior to Caleb’s time at Bard, they developed and produced new works from Annie Baker, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Lucas Hnath, and Jackie Sibblies Drury for Soho Rep. They became the first producing director of Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company in 2008 and are the co-instigator of the Brooklyn-based performance series CATCH. Caleb holds a BFA from the NYU Tisch Experimental Theatre Wing and was a member of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance’s inaugural class at Wesleyan University.

“Soho Rep has always been a place that embraces the unknown: a beacon of adventurous work, adaptable approaches, and aspirational ambition,” said Hammons in a statement. “The landscape is challenging, but ripe with opportunities to imagine how this forward-thinking, exemplary theatre can continue to set the pace for a theatre ecosystem that is daring, inclusive, innovative, and sustainable. Cynthia, Sarah, and Meropi’s championing of artists as thought leaders and of the organization as one with core civic responsibility has laid the groundwork for the field, and I’m humbled by the opportunity to build on their achievements. I couldn’t ask for better partners on this journey than Cynthia and Eric. I’m confident that what we dream up together will be of service to all those past, present, and future who find their way home to Soho Rep.”

Soho Repertory Theatre is an Off-Broadway theatre company in New York City that seeks to produce ambitious, innovative new works by radical theatremakers. Soho Rep aims to elevate artists as thought leaders and citizens who can change the field and society by providing tailor-made development at key junctures in their artistic practice. As of 2022, Soho Rep had an approximate budget of $2.9 million.

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