Paige Evans Is Departing Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre | Playbill

Industry News Paige Evans Is Departing Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre

Evans becomes the latest in a growing string of major leadership changes for NYC theatre companies.

Paige Evans Marc J. Franklin

Paige Evans will step down from her role as artistic director of Signature Theatre in June, making her the latest in a growing string of major leadership changes at NYC theatres. Evans has led the Off-Broadway company since 2016, when she succeeded company founder James Houghton.

Under her leadership, the company has hosted such writers as Melis Aker, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Samuel D. Hunter, Dave Malloy, Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, Sarah Ruhl, Anna Deavere Smith, Lauren Yee, and The Mad Ones for residencies.

"I loved working with Paige during the remounting of my plays Fires in the Mirror and Twilight," says Smith in a statement. "Her searing and perceptive intelligence were invaluable. We need allies in the trenches of art production. I am grateful that she is one of mine."

Evans also spearheaded the launch of several new initiatives at the company, including an education program for high school- and college-aged students, SigSpace lobby programming, and the LaunchPad Residency for early-career writers from underrepresented communities.

“My gratitude to Paige and admiration for her leadership of Signature will be everlasting," says Signature Board Chair Edward Norton. "Nobody who signs up for the adventure and fun of running a dynamic theatre company expects it to turn into an existential fight for survival due to a global pandemic. But you really learn what people are made of when things get tough, and Paige’s fortitude and creativity and tireless spirit never wavered. How lucky we have been to work with her and how lucky all her partners in future adventures in theatre will be."

News of Evans' departure follows similar announcements for Second Stage's Carole Rothman (a role that will be filled by Bennett Leak on an interim basis) and Lincoln Center Theater's André Bishop, while New York Theatre Workshop Artistic Director Patricia McGregor is currently in the midst of her first season following the departure of James C. Nicola. Roundabout Theatre Company is also currently searching for a new full-time artistic director, with Scott Ellis currently serving in the interim following the 2023 death of Todd Haimes. And the moment of transition is not isolated to artistic directors. Playwrights Horizons Managing Director Leslie Marcus is set to depart this summer, and Manhattan Theatre Club just got a new general manager in Robert Carroll.

Beyond leadership changes, the Off-Broadway scene is facing new challenges while still struggling to recover from pandemic-related losses. Backstage workers at Titaníque, a commercial Off-Broadway production, and Off-Broadway non-profit Atlantic Theater Company have both recently voted to unionize via IATSE, and many industry insiders are expecting similar votes at other companies to follow—workers at The Public Theater have already initiated a similar effort. While providing increased safety and wages for the workers, the shift has the potential to make a profound effect on the Off-Broadway business model.

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