Playwright and director Emily Mann, who has served as the artistic director and resident playwright of the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey, since 1990, will retire following the upcoming 2019–2020 season.
Mann’s final season, to be announced in March, will be titled Signature Emily, a series of plays celebrating diverse and emerging artists that will pay homage to her 30-year tenure at McCarter. Mann has been a fierce champion of works by women and people of color.
“Three decades ago, McCarter took the brave and bold step of casting a young female artist as its artistic director, long before women writers and directors were widely embraced in American theater,” stated Mann, whose play, Gloria: A Life, opened Off-Broadway in October. “After what has been an extraordinary journey, it is time to pass the torch to the next generation of artistic directors, many of whom I have been privileged to mentor, so that they may impart their own unique signatures at McCarter as I enter a new personal and professional chapter of writing and directing opportunities.”
“Emily ushered in an exceptionally robust artistic period that catapulted McCarter to the world stage. She has been a trailblazing force in shaping the course of American theater through her focus on diversity and inclusiveness and her passion for nurturing scores of emerging and established artists whose creative expression has challenged convention and enriched our collective community,” added Reginald M. Browne, Interim President, McCarter Board of Trustees. “Her imprint as an agent of change is as inspiring as it is indelible.”
Mann has overseen more than 160 productions, including more than 40 world premieres. During her tenure, the theatre won the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, and Mann was twice nominated for Tony Awards as a playwright and director. Her other personal awards include The Peabody Award, the Hull Warriner Award from the Dramatists Guild, a Helen Merrill Distinguished Playwright award, awards from the NAACP, eight Obie awards, a Guggenheim, the 2011 Person of the Year Award from the National Theater Conference, as well as the Margo Jones Award, given to a “citizen-of-the-theatre who has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to the encouragement of the living theatre everywhere.” Mann also received an honorary Doctorate of Arts from Princeton University.
Over the next few months, McCarter’s Board of Trustees will formalize a process for identifying the theatre’s next artistic director.