As the buds begin to bloom and the leaves turn green, the time for change is all around us. This is also true at Book-It Rep. Gus Menary will turn over the position of artistic director to Kelly Kitchens, an established artist and Book-It collaborator.
Gus Menary joined Book-It Repertory Theatre in January 2020, right before COVID-19 forced the prolonged shutdown of most businesses, including theatres. In light of the shutdown, Menary pivoted Book-It from in-person live theatre to audio dramas that could be listened to digitally and from the home.
In 2021 and 2022 Book-It presented world-premiere audio adaptations of works from Octavia E. Butler, Alexandre Dumas, and N.K. Jemisin, among others, which were helmed and voiced by some of the most talented artists in Seattle. In the Spring of 2022, when the world began opening again, Gus shepherded Book-It’s return to in-person stage performances with adaptations of works by Amy Tan, Rachel Ingalls, and Agatha Christie, among others.
“My hope is that my time leading Book-It will have been during its hardest fight for survival and continuance of art creation, and that as a result of our work the future will be brighter for our next leader,” said Menary. “I am enormously grateful for the opportunity Book-It bestowed on me and incredibly proud of the work the staff and artists have contributed to the organization. Despite challenges, the last few years were also filled with triumph, magic, and incredible examples of the perseverance of human spirit that made all of it supremely worth it. It has never not been hard, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Kelly Kitchens will step in as interim artistic director for the 2023-24 season. Kitchens is a seasoned artist who directed Mrs. Caliban for Book-It last spring. Kitchens has been part of the Book-It community as an actor, adaptor, teaching artist, director, audience member and supporter. She has directed Book-It shows, as well as shows at the Seattle Opera, Seattle Public Theater, Seattle Shakespeare, ACT Theatre, and more. One of the first roles she landed in Seattle as an actor was the front end of a donkey in Book-It’s very own Owen Meany’s Christmas Pageant.