*A former Minneapolis city council member who has extensive regional theater experience has been appointed director of theater and musical theater at the National Endowment for the Arts, reports the Associated Press.
Ralph Remington will join the NEA on March 15 for a two-year run, Rocco Landesman, the endowment’s chairman, announced Tuesday. Remington will manage the theater division’s grant-making as well as oversee such projects as its New Play Development Program.
“It’s an amazing opportunity, at this particular time with this particular administration,” Remington told the AP in telephone interview. “What excites me (in the theater) is people willing to take risks in their work. People who are willing to push boundaries. … We need to give support to those theaters which are willing to step out onto the edge.”
The 47-year-old Remington, a graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts and Washington’s Howard University, was a member of the Minneapolis city council from 2006 through 2009. He also worked as an artistic associate at Arena Stage in Washington, founded the Pillsbury House Theatre in Minneapolis, and worked as an actor in Minnesota at both the Guthrie and Illusion theaters.
“We needed somebody who knew theater and had credibility as a grant-maker,” Landesman said. “But we were also looking for someone with political savvy because we’ve rolled out the ‘Our Town’ program that has to do with the role of art in neighborhood revitalization, urban renewal and economic development. That takes somebody who knows his way around town. And I think Ralph fits the bill on both counts. He’s going to bring a new energy to the theater program.”