jakub | August 26, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | Sabriaya Shipley Named Theatre Philadelphia Executive Director


Sabriaya Shipley. (Photo by Maurice J.)

PHILADELPHIA: Theatre Philadelphia has named Sabriaya Shipley their new executive director. Shipley will assume the role this month ahead of the theatre’s 2023-24 season.

“We are thrilled to have Sabriaya helming Theatre Philadelphia,” Jason Linder, president of the theatre’s board of directors, said in a statement. “Her skills and experience offer an embarrassment of riches in organizing, production, education, and development. We’re so excited to support their vision for the future of this organization.”

Shipley (she/they), a native of Baltimore, is a poet, playwright, educator, and community ethnographer who has been based in Philadelphia since 2014. Shipley has worked with Theatre Exile, Power Street Theatre, the Painted Bride Art Center, the Colored Girls Museum, Mural Arts Philadelphia, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, and more. They are a recipient of the 2021-22 Philadelphia Foundation and Forman Art’s Initiative Art Works Grant, were named a 2019 A+ Educator by Philadelphia Family, and were a 2021 Black Lives Matter Philly fellow and educator. Shipley holds a B.A. in theatre from Temple University and an M.A. in social justice and community organizing from Prescott College. They will be the first Black LGBTQ+ executive director of Theatre Philadelphia.

“As an LGBTQ Black artist, my journey in theatre in Philadelphia has met me with several opportunities to collaborate at the intersections of various communities,” Shipley said in a statement. “With this new role, I aim to cultivate programming, community discussions, and ethnography that explores the intersections of the Theatre Philadelphia community. I am determined to continue to be open to studying, receiving, and cultivating decolonized art spaces.”

Shipley succeeds LaNeshe Miller-White, who left Theatre Philadelphia last spring to serve as the executive director of Philadelphia Young Playwrights.

Theatre Philadelphia is dedicated to bringing together and celebrating Philadelphia’s diverse and growing theatre community and promotes the public’s participation in this community. Theatre Philadelphia is the administering organization of the Barrymore Awards and Philly Theatre Week. As of 2022, the theatre had a budget of approximately $278,000.

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