After 20 years at the helm of Shakespeare Dallas, artistic director Raphael Parry has announced his retirement effective at the end of the month.
Originally slated to retire several years ago, Parry stayed to help the company weather the pandemic. He previously pulled double duty as also the nonprofit's executive director, a title he passed to Karen Raehpour in November 2022.
Jenni Stewart will move into the role of interim artistic director until a national search for a permanent artistic director is completed in early 2024.
"I am deeply thankful for the last twenty years," Parry wrote in an email sent to Shakespeare Dallas email subscribers. "During this time I have been so very fortunate to produce plays, direct and act in shows, run the company, and work with some incredible talent. My tenure has been fulfilling and eventful, and I’m very proud of our work and our growth."
“Raphael completely transformed Shakespeare Dallas,” states board president Lauren York. “His roots in the Dallas arts community run deep. He took us to a new level artistically and both expanded and diversified our audience base. The board will be forever grateful for the philanthropic and artistic connections he’s made on our behalf that continue to nurture the organization.”
Those who have enjoyed Parry's work both as a director and onstage as an actor need not worry — Parry will remain in Dallas and pursue work as a freelance actor and director. Shakespeare Dallas and the board of directors will also honor Parry with the title of executive and artistic director emeritus.
Parry has been an active member of the North Texas theater community for 40 years, creating new works, re-envisioning classics, educating youth, mentoring young artists, and expanding and diversifying audiences. During his tenure at Shakespeare Dallas, he produced 60 plays, directed 20 productions, and acted in six.
Over the past two decades, Parry expanded the company’s offerings from two Shakespeare in the Park summer productions to a year-round season that includes both indoor and outdoor performances and educational offerings and outreach for both children and adults.
Between 2012-2017, Parry helmed a canon completion project in partnership with ATT Performing Arts Center, which included staged readings of every play, sonnet, and epic poem written by Shakespeare.
In 2017, the company commissioned Quixote, a new bilingual Spanish-English work from Octavio Solis, which has since been produced at major regional theaters under the title Quixote Nuevo!
"One of my most treasured takeaways is the opportunity I’ve had to get to know you — to meet you on the plaza, visit with you before and after shows, and to hear about your connection to our company," Parry writes. "I have met so many folks who tell me they started attending when they were children and now they’re bringing their own children. To be with you for a generation is a rare treat for me. I’m looking forward to rejoining this community onstage soon.”
Shakespeare Dallas' 2023 season
includes Much Ado About Nothing
and Two Gentlemen of Verona
running in repertory this summer, and King Lear
in the fall.