Giselle Byrd. (Photo by Hakeem Adewumi, Styling and Art Direction by Joseph Valenté, Produced by Jess Ernst, Jewelry by Alexis Bittar)
BOSTON: The Theater Offensive (TTO) has appointed Giselle Byrd its new executive director following a nationwide search. The theatre and film producer, talent manager, and LGBTQIA+ rights advocate will be the first Black trans woman to lead a regional theatre company in the United States. TTO’s executive director search was led by Geoff Chang of the Arts Consulting Group.
“Giselle is more than ready to meet this moment of change in American theatre, and this moment of possibility and threat for the queer and trans community,” said TTO board chair Stetson Marshall in a statement. “Her vision of art as critical to social justice, her deep connections with many communities, her superb people skills, her lived experience as a transgender woman of color, and her varied theatre accomplishments together make her an ideal executive director as TTO enters an exciting era.”
Byrd brings to TTO her expertise in production, casting, script coverage, brand management, and fundraising. A longtime theatre and arts executive, she most recently worked at the Katz Company in New York, where for nine years she managed the careers of rising and prominent actors, musicians, activists, and content creators, while simultaneously creating brand strategies and developing partnerships with companies such as Google, LVMH, OPI, The WNBA, and others. As a documentary film producer, Byrd was the first transgender woman accepted in the Through Her Lens: The Tribeca Chanel Filmmaker Program. Byrd earned her BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She serves on the boards of the Ali Forney Center, the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art, and the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center.
“I’m excited to lead the Theater Offensive on its journey of theatre innovation and queer and trans liberation,” said Byrd in a statement. “While traditionally marginalized voices are being silenced, and trans women of color, like myself, suffer an epidemic of violence, TTO centers those creative voices 365 days a year. I’m thrilled to join TTO’s work of redefining the American theatre landscape.“
The Theater Offensive is a Boston-based theatrical organization dedicated to amplifying the rich spectrum of LGBTQ voices through storytelling. The organization is currently building the Boylston Black Box, which will be the world’s largest theatre owned and operated by queer and trans people of color. TTO’s mission is to present liberating art by, for, and about queer and trans people of color that transcends artistic boundaries, celebrates cultural abundance, and dismantles oppression. As of 2022, TTO had an approximate budget of $1.5 million.
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