Announcement: Nina Lee Aquino to step down as Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre Company

From press release

Nina Lee Aquino will be stepping down from her position as Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre Company to pursue new artistic endeavours.  Aquino will continue to serve in the position of Artistic Advisor until the end of the 2012/2013 season.  A search committee led by the Board of Directors and members of the artistic community has been struck, and a nationwide search for Cahoots’ next Artistic Director will commence shortly.  The Board has invited Kawa Ada to step in as Interim Artistic Director during the period of the search.

During her tenure with the company, Aquino has helped to re-brand Cahoots, beginning with its name and expanding its mandate; revitalizing its new play development program, including the implementation of the company’s playwriting unit, HotHouse; and enhancing mentorship to nurture rising artistic leaders within the community.  Under Aquino’s leadership, Cahoots has garnered increased notoriety and numerous awards, including her Dora Award win as Outstanding Director of the 2011 production of David Yee’s paperSERIES.

“Nina Lee Aquino is a talented and passionate member of the theatre community. We feel privileged to have worked with her under her artistic leadership. Her dedication to new play development and diversity in the arts has placed Cahoots at a high point, and we are confident that we will be choosing her successor from among the best in the nation to take Cahoots to the next level of success,” saidMichelle Yeung, Chair of Cahoots’ Board of Directors.

Ada, having worked closely with Aquino, has served in various capacities within the company over the past few years, including Playwright-in-Residence, Artistic Associate and, most recently, Associate Artistic Director.  Ada is a successful actor with extensive experience in directing and choreography, as well as teaching and program development at institutions such as Humber College, York University and Sheridan College.  He has served as an international speaker and leadership consultant for over 10 years at arts and educational institutions including Ryerson University, the University of Toronto and the United Nations University for Peace.

Ada will work closely with General Manager Kate Ann Vandermeer, and with the support of Aquino, to ensure that Cahoots will continue to grow in both artistic and organizational capacities.  Cahoots will be re-opening the doors to its newly renovated office and rehearsal space in April 2013, providing the community with access to an advanced creation studio that is both affordable and barrier-free.  In May, Aquino will return to Cahoots to direct the world premiere of Flerida Peña’s Sister Mary’s a Dyke?!, a quirky, off-beat, coming out-of-the-closet and coming-of-age story, promising to be a rip-roaring, atypical adventure comedy.  The premiere will take place at the Aki Studio, Daniels Spectrum from May 25 to June 16, 2013.

In its 26-year history, Cahoots Theatre Company has held a prominent place in the tapestry of the Toronto arts community, programming work that reflects Canada’s multi-cultural landscape.  The company’s vision and purpose remain powerful and progressive and it will continue to fulfill its role as a leader in the artistic community through the creation and production of new works that give voice to the otherwise marginalized and under-represented.