Estefanía Fadul and Graeme Gillis have been appointed the new co-artistic directors of the 55-year-old Ensemble Studio Theatre.
Gillis, who has been serving as interim artistic director since William Carden retired in 2022, will begin planning the 2023-2024 season with director/producer Fadul, who will join the company in March.
Founded in 1968, EST was originally led by Curt Dempster, who was succeeded by Carden in 2007. Fadul and Gillis mark the first co-leadership structure for the company.
Fadul is a Colombian-born, New Hampshire-raised, NYC-based director and creative producer with a passion for new work. Recent directing includes the world premieres of Eva Luna (Repertorio Español), The Garbologists (Philadelphia Theatre Company), The Same Day (Sfumato Theatre, Bulgaria), Scissoring (INTAR), and the Drama League-nominated Carla’s Quince, which she conceived and developed with The Voting Project Ensemble to mobilize Latiné voters to the polls.
Nova Scotia-born Gillis leads EST's Obie-winning EST/Youngblood playwrights group. He has worked as a playwright with theatres throughout the U.S. and Canada, including Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Vampire Cowboys, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Source Theatre, Mulgrave Road Theatre, Summerworks, and Theatre Smash at the Tarragon Theatre.
"I am so proud to have this brilliant team be at the head of our company,” states Members Council Co-Chair Sharina Martin. “Representatives from across our entire community were able to weigh in on a process that took the better part of a year. I can truly say that this search reflected the best of EST—a theatre that values community, inclusion, and and collaboration. I am so excited for the dynamic ideas that will come from Graeme and Estefanía, and I fully trust in their leadership as we enter into the next phase of reimagining EST."
“My favorite way of working has always been within ensemble settings, where there is space and time for trust to build, ideas to evolve, risks to be taken, and collaborations to grow. EST is uniquely positioned to be a leader in imagining, experimenting with, and practicing brave and joyful ways of creating,” says Co-Artistic Director Fadul. “I look forward to building on the deep work that folks within the organization are already doing with love and care to transform EST into a truly inclusive place of belonging for artists and audiences alike, particularly those from communities that have been historically excluded. The possibilities feel infinite, and I’m honored to be in process with the EST community as we co-create its future.”
“The animating idea of EST, of a community of artists dedicating themselves to their work, to each other, and to the future of theatre, is just about the most romantic, most inspiring thing I’ve ever heard,” adds Co-Artistic Director Gillis. “Before us, a lot of people at EST lived that idea. They held the door open so hundreds of artists, 55 years of them, could walk in here. Now it’s our turn. That’s the heart of EST’s inclusion work and anti-racism efforts, and really our whole artistic life. I’ve been sheltered and inspired by this place, by the work I’ve seen and the people I’ve met here, for nearly half my life. I want that for everybody. That welcome, that acceptance, the camaraderie and fun, the awe at what we can pull off together. I feel so lucky today, because I get to participate in that.”
In the past five decades, EST has developed thousands of new American plays and has grown into a company of over 600 actors, directors, playwrights, and designers. Visit EnsembleStudioTheatre.org.