More than a year and a half after the death of its founder and longtime guiding light, Theatre Three has named Jeffrey Schmidt its new artistic director. Schmidt, a director, designer, and actor who has had a hand in dozens of productions with North Texas companies over the years, starts his new gig Jan. 1.
He’ll have some big shoes to fill. Jac Alder, who died last May, founded Theatre Three and led it through more than 50 seasons, becoming “the elder statesman of Dallas theater” along the way. Schmidt was chosen after a national search by the company’s board, according to a press release from Theatre Three.
Bruce Coleman, a writer and director and the theater’s resident artist, had served as acting artistic director since Alder’s death.
“The board and I are tremendously grateful to Bruce for stepping in for us during a very difficult time,” Theatre Three board chairman Scott Williams says in the release. “Without missing a beat, he kept Theatre Three moving forward over these past eighteen months. Bruce is a great talent and we know he has a bright future ahead.”
Theatre Three’s 55th season continues in January with Laugh, a new comedy directed by Schmidt.
The full press release from Theatre Three is copied below:
DALLAS, TX: A six-month national search conducted by the Board of Directors of Theatre Three has resulted in the naming of Dallas-based director-designer-actor Jeffrey Schmidt as the theatre-in-the-round’s new artistic director. Schmidt will assume the position on January 1, 2017.
An accomplished actor, director and designer, Jeffrey is well-known in the Dallas-Fort Worth theater community. His extensive career includes over 20 years of experience in directing, performing, creating and promoting live theater. He has worked with several Metroplex theater companies including Undermain Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, MoonWater Theater Company, The Drama Club and 13 years as an artist-in-residence at Theatre Three. He has been recognized for his work, receiving numerous honors and awards from critics and publications including D Magazine, Theater Jones, Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Voice, The Column Awards and DFW Theater Critics Forum. Theatre Three audiences will likely recognize Jeffrey from his recent critically-praised portrayal of Ethan in The Novelist last fall. Further, he is directing the next Theatre Three Main Stage production – Laugh by Beth Henley.
Jeffrey states, “My history with Theatre Three, my extensive work throughout the DFW area and my passion for innovation positions me to be the vital bridge between the past and the future. With its over 50-year history, Theatre Three is poised to be a major contributor to the arts conversation and to assume a more prominent leadership role in the community. I am excited by the opportunity to be the one who focuses the theatre’s potential. Honoring the legacy of Jac and
Norma while securing Theatre Three’s place in Dallas’s future will be no easy task. I am eager for the challenge.”
The national search attracted nearly 100 candidates from across the country and was led by Theatre Three Chairman of the Board Scott Williams and a sub-committee of the board.
Of the new artistic director, Williams states, “Jeffrey laid out an artistic vision for our theatre that was truly impressive. I can’t wait for our audiences to see that vision come to life. Plus, Jeffrey was a trusted friend and valued colleague to Jac. Jeffrey’s 10-plus-year tenure as an artistic associate at Theatre Three undoubtedly prepared him for this new role in which I know he will flourish and enjoy great success.”
The naming of Schmidt as artistic director comes a year and a half after the passing of Theatre Three co-founder, executive producer and director Jac Alder. The national search was part of the succession plan that Mr. Alder laid out for the theatre. Director and designer Bruce R. Coleman assumed the role of acting artistic director upon Mr. Alder’s passing on May 22, 2015.
Williams explains, “The board and I are tremendously grateful to Bruce for stepping in for us during a very difficult time. Without missing a beat, he kept Theatre Three moving forward over these past eighteen months. Bruce is a great talent and we know he has a bright future ahead.”
Theatre Three is in the middle of its 55th season. The season continues with the aforementioned Laugh, a new comedy by Pulitzer Prize winner Beth Henley; the Tony Award-winning musical Passing Strange; a 1940s comedy-drama Susan and God by Rachel Crowther; and Stephen Sondheim’s Tony-winning best musical A Little Night Music. For more information about Theatre Three, visit www.theatre3dallas.com.