News

Book-It Names First New Artistic Director in 30-Year History

Joel Maisonet

The announcement of naming Gus Menary as the new artistic director comes after a four month national search.

The announcement marks a momentous occasion for the theatre, as Gus Menary will be the first male Artistic Director for Book-It Repertory Theatre and only the second in its 30-year history. Co-Founding Artistic Directors Jane Jones and Myra Platt incorporated Book-It in 1990 with the vision of adapting literature into theatre. But while many theatres around the world adapt other works into plays, Book-It continues to have one rule that makes a piece Book-It Style™: it must be literature and there can be no editing or playwriting added.

Gus Menary will be coming to Book-It from his position as the Artistic Director of Jackalope Theatre Company in Chicago, which Menary was a founding company member. Jackalope Theatre’s focus on developing new works was a determining factor for the hiring committee, with Menary facilitating in the development of over 40 new plays during his tenure. Stuart Frank, Book-It board president and hiring committee chairman stated, “He has proven experience in building and running a theatre company dedicated to new work development. The rigorous curiosity required to undertake and nurture this work will be an incredible asset to the community, and his infectious enthusiasm will be a guiding light for Book-It’s journey into the future.”

Menary will begin preparing for his new position full-time on January 2, 2020 and will work closely with Jane Jones and Myra Platt over the next eight months. He will take over leadership in August 2020. Jones and Platt intend on introducing Menary to the Seattle and Book-It communities while he participates in season planning for the 2020-21 season and familiarizes himself with the staff, board and Book-It Style.

Menary comes to Book-It with a true appreciation of literature in addition to his love of theatre, stating, “Book-It’s focus on adaptation is, in some ways, brand new to me, but as someone who reads voraciously, it’s a facet of theatremaking that has always greatly interested me…In a very real way, this opportunity feels like fate. It’s my hope that I’m able to continue Book-It’s streak of artistic excellence and captivating, diverse work that includes and uplifts the voices and stories of many people. I’m extremely excited, and I’m extremely honored that they would place their trust in me.”