CREEDE, COLO., and CEDAR CITY, UTAH: Producing artistic director John DiAntonio will depart Creede Repertory Theatre (CRT) to become artistic director of the Utah Shakespeare Festival (USF) in November. DiAntonio has been involved with CRT organization for 13 years. CRT marketing director Kate Berry has been appointed interim artistic director as of the close of the current season, and the company plans to begin a national search for an artistic director in the coming weeks.
“DiAntonio led Creede Rep through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic including the cancellation and restructure of the 2020 season, an entirely outdoor season in 2021, and the return to the indoors in 2022,” said board president Bob Johns in a statement. “Under his leadership, Creede Rep saw a 100 percent audience return in 2023. He will leave a legacy and a lasting impact on the direction of Creede Repertory Theatre going forward.”
An actor, director, and playwright, DiAntonio joined Creede Rep’s acting company in 2011. He helped create the Headwaters New Play Festival in 2012, and became the associate artistic director in 2015. Creede Rep workshopped and produced his plays Harry the Great and Kind of Red for the mainstage theatre as well as numerous plays for The KID Show program and Young Audience Outreach Tours including Reading and Other Superpowers, Math-stronaut, and Viva Agua. DiAntonio became executive director in 2017 and was named producing artistic director in 2019.
“There are no words to adequately express what Creede Repertory Theatre and the town of Creede mean to me and my wife, Caitlin,” said DiAntonio in a statement, referring to actor Caitlin Wise. “This place will forever be a part of my heart and soul. CRT welcomed us with open arms from the beginning, presenting endless opportunities and exciting challenges, that made me the artist and man I am today. The theatre has never been stronger thanks to the loyalty of our community; thank you for all the love and support you have given us over the last thirteen years.”
Prior to his work at CRT, DiAntonio was a freelance actor, director, playwright, and teacher, born and raised in Pittsburgh. He received his B.A. in theatre and psychology from Case Western University and earned his MFA in acting from the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver, with additional training in classical acting from the British American Drama Academy in London.
“What an honor to join the extraordinary artists of the Utah Shakespeare Festival,” said DiAntonio in a statement. “I cannot wait to connect with the Cedar City community, recruit more theatre lovers, and bring the magic of the Bard to the stage as we embark on the 63rd season.”
In Utah, DiAntonio will work alongside former USF education director Michael Bahr, who has been named executive managing director after serving in an interim capacity since Nov. 2022. The festival’s interim artistic director, Derek Charles Livingston, will stay on as artistic associate and director of
new play development.
“John has a great love for Shakespeare, experience with rotating repertory, and embraces the complexity and sustainability of theatrical processes,” said Bahr in a statement. “He will be a great asset to our present ensemble of artists, artisans, staff members, volunteers, and the community. I’m thrilled that he is joining our artistic team, building on the legacy of the past and illuminating our bright future.”
Creede Repertory Theatre is a professional theatre company that strives to be an artistic home for the rural Rocky Mountain community and beyond, through the presentation of repertory seasons, educational programs, and new works. As of 2020, CRT had an approximate budget of $1 million.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival, based on the campus of Southern Utah University, presents classical and contemporary plays and musicals in rotating repertory along with interactive experiences designed to entertain, educate, and enrich regional and national audiences. USF seeks to create impactful theatre that reflects and celebrates the emotional complexity of our collective humanity. As of 2021, USF had an approximate budget of $12.6 million.
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