Baltimore Center Stage has named Stephanie Ybarra the theatre's next artistic director, succeeding former artistic leader Kwame Kwei-Armah. Ybarra currently serves as the director of special artistic projects at The Public Theater and will begin her transition to Center Stage beginning in October and take on leadership full-time in December.
Ybarra has spent six years at The Public, where she went from being an artistic associate to director of special artistic projects. In her current role, she oversees the theatre’s Mobile Unit and Public Forum programs; she also spearheaded The Public Mobile Unit’s first national program, which will launch this fall in the Midwest with a free, touring production of Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Sweat.
Originally from Texas, Ybarra has almost 20 years of experience in theatres across the U.S. Among notable roles, she has served as the producing director for the Playwrights Realm; producing artistic director for the Cherry Lane Theater’s Mentor Project; the associate managing director of New Play Development for Yale Repertory Theater and Yale School of Drama; and as the interim general manager of Two River Theater Company. She co-founded the Artists’ Anti-Racism Coalition; serves as Producer's Lab liaison for Women’s Project Theater, of which she is an alum; and is both curator and casting director for Two River's Crossing Borders Festival of Latinx plays.
Ybarra is a recipient of the Josephine Abady Award for producing from New York's League of Professional Theatre Women; TCG’s Continuing Education Grant; and the Congressional Award for Achievement in Excellence from Zara Aina.
“Baltimore Center Stage is a foundational institution for the American Theatre. It is an honor to help carry its legacy forward as artistic director alongside the Board of Trustees, incredible staff and executive director Michael Ross,” said Ybarra in a statement. “Serving the Baltimore community and the beautiful state of Maryland with dynamic arts programming is a singular opportunity. And, to say I’m ‘thrilled’ doesn’t do justice to the wellspring of excitement and anticipation I’m feeling right now—I’m standing on some formidable shoulders, and in awe of the view.”
Kwei-Armah served at Baltimore Center Stage for seven seasons and became the artistic director of London's Young Vic earlier this year.
Visit Centerstage.org for more information on its upcoming programming.