Touchstone’s long-time Artistic Director Katrina Dunn has announced that the upcoming 2016/17 producing season will be her final with the company. 2016/17 will be her 20th season for Touchstone, and a fitting milestone to pass the torch to a new artistic leader. The search for the new Artistic Director will begin immediately, with the hiring process taking place over the summer of 2016. The plan is for substantial overlap of the incoming and outgoing ADs over 2016/17, to ensure a smooth transition for the company.
The fifth Artistic Director of Touchstone, Katrina’s many accomplishments over her tenure have had a substantial impact on Touchstone, as well as on the Arts in Vancouver in general. Taking over the company in 1997, she seeded more new play development at Touchstone. These efforts led to the premiere of Kevin Kerr’s Unity (1918) in 2001, which went on to win the Governor Generals Award for English Drama in 2002, as well other fine plays such as Shawn Macdonald’s Prodigal Son in 2006 and Janet Munsil’s Influence in 2008. In 2003 she co-founded the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival with Norman Armour, which has gone on to become one of Vancouver’s signature Arts events. In 2008 she launched Touchstone’s Flying Start program (with Playwrights Theatre Centre and the Firehall Arts Centre), which is unique in Canada and gives development and a premiere production to a new local playwright. In 2011 she created In Tune with the Arts Club Theatre Company’s Rachel Ditor, to forward the cause of the Canadian musical. In 2014, through her collaboration with the leaders of PuSh, DOXA and Music on Main, Touchstone found a new home at The Post at 750, a multi-disciplinary creative hub in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown.
She has been nominated seven times for Jessie Awards in Outstanding Direction for Touchstone shows, winning once for her work on Michael Healey’s Kicked in 2001, and once for her co-direction of Judith Thompson’s Palace of the End in 2009. In 2010 she was thrilled to receive the Bra D’Or Award from the Women’s Caucus of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, for promoting the work of women playwrights.
Katrina said of her departure, “I have one of the best jobs in Canadian theatre. It’s been a pleasure to program for Touchstone, and to help the company grow in collaboration with the amazing artists, staff, and board members who have given so much of themselves over the years. I can’t wait to watch a new vision usher the company into its fifth decade of production.” Katrina is planning to pursue freelance work, graduate studies, and increased family time after her departure from Touchstone.
Touchstone’s Board of Directors is leading the search process and garnering input from representatives of the local theatre community. The job posting can be found on Touchstone’s website at www.touchstonetheatre.com/staff-board. The closing date for the search is April 30th 2016.
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