New leadership leads the New Year for 2 Dallas theater companies
Two Dallas theaters — Second Thought Theatre and Teatro Dallas — are starting the New Year with new leadership. The former has hired an executive director, while the latter has brought on a new executive artistic director.
Executive director is a new role for Second Thought, which has been helmed solely by artistic director Carson McCain since 2020. Now, Dallas-based actor and playwright Parker Gray takes the managerial lead as part of a multi-pronged rethink of STT’s administrative infrastructure.
Following Drew Wall’s demission of his role as director of operations — which he held for over 15 pivotal years — the STT board of directors and staff saw an opportunity to reshape its company structure and to build greater synergy between artistic vision and logistical efficiency, explains a release.
“Parker has been a dear friend and collaborator of mine for almost a decade,” says McCain. “There is no one whose taste and vision I trust more when it comes to the DFW theater landscape. Second Thought Theatre is incredibly lucky to have such a talented and knowledgeable leader joining our team.”
Gray is a graduate of the acting program at Southern Methodist University and his list of credits includes notable projects for film, television, and practically every theater company in the DFW, including an upcoming production of The Play That Goes Wrong co-produced by Stage West and WaterTower Theatre. That's also him starring in one of 2022's top productions, Stede Bonnet: A F*cking Pirate Musical at Theatre Three.
“I’m so incredibly excited and honored that I get to help usher this theater into the next era of its existence,” says Gray. “Drew Wall and Alex Organ [STT's previous artistic director] were, and are, two of my inspirations in this town, and the theater they created when I first drew artistic breath here were my favorites. So to now follow in their footsteps and sit beside another inspiration and favored colleague, Carson McCain, and create theater at Second Thought is both humbling and a dream come true.”
Gray was selected for the position in late October 2022 and now joins the STT staff in the newly developed role in earnest
Teatro Dallas has announced Gustavo Ott as its new executive artistic director. Ott will succeed Sara Cardona, who will remain on staff as director of development.
“This 36-year legacy is one I am proud to inherit and build upon as an exclusive asset, an artistic and educational gift that lives and speaks to us because it is also a political legacy: of resistance, beauty, and engagement," says Ott. "Our season is the backbone of our identity. And my artistic vision, of course, starts with my plays."
Ott was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and is a playwright, theater director, and fiction writer. For 20 years, he was executive artistic director of the San Martin Theater and Fiesta: International Theater Festival in Caracas. As a director, he has staged more than 15 plays of his own and by other contemporary authors. As a playwright, he has written over 50 plays and has been translated into 15 languages.
Ott also vows to support new work, "in particular plays by BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and women writers. Through the Playwriting Workshop, I will develop new plays and authors, placing priority on world premieres, national premieres, state premieres, and English-language premieres. I will seek to make an impact with beauty that is not superficial, to shake spectators with a season that is beautiful, entertaining, and at the same time political. Beauty with sharp claws."
He will also focus on strengthening international ties with groups and institutions in Spanish-speaking countries, particularly with Mexican theater.
"We will translate contemporary Latin American playwrights into English and promote them in the U.S.," Ott says in a release. "Our International Festival — a unique event in the southwest of the country — will also remain a priority. It will continue to grow as a link to Latin America."