Synchronicity is Excited to Announce Our New Managing Director . . . Celise Kalke!

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ATLANTA – The members of the Board of Directors of Synchronicity Theatre are pleased to announce that Celise Kalke has been selected to be the Company’s new Managing Director. Her official start date will be October 22, 2018.

On the heels of its Managing for Excellence grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Ms. Kalke, alongside Producing Artistic Director Rachel May, will usher in the next phase of the Company’s strategic development. She will direct all aspects of financial and business operations of the organization, from both a strategic and operational perspective, including long-range and annual planning. She will also be pivotal in working with the Board of Directors as it creates and executes fundraising and growth strategies. She will demonstrate a commitment to Synchronicity’s mission to uplift the voices of women and girls, and inspire confidence in stakeholders, artists, and patrons.

Since 2005, Ms. Kalke has been the Director of New Projects/Artistic Programs Manager at the Alliance Theatre, where she managed the development and production of world premiere new works, and discovered and mentored artists new to the field of American Theatre, including Academy Award-winner Tarell Alvin McCraney and Laurents/Hatcher-winner Jiréh Breon Holder. She also developed and grew the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition and the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab, which have launched the careers of multiple emerging playwrights and theatre artists.

From 2003 to 2005, Ms. Kalke was the Director of the Literary Department at the Public Theater in New York City, where she developed projects, managed playwright commissions and mentored emerging playwrights under producer George C. Wolfe. From 1999 to 2003, She was the Resident Dramaturg at the Court Theatre in Chicago. In the late 1990’s, Ms. Kalke was a Staff Dramaturg in the Julliard Drama Division, where she worked part-time with the Juilliard Playwrights program headed by Marsha Norman and Chris Durang, and with students such as Adam Rapp, Brooke Berman, David Lindsay-Abaire, Jessica Goldberg, and Michael Winn. She was a Dramaturg for Michael Kahn, Garland Wright, and JoAnne Akalaitis.

In the 1990s, Ms. Kalke lived in Prague, Czech Republic, was a member of Misery Loves Company a Czech/English company, and worked with the Narodni Divadlo and Divadlo Pod Palmovkou while a student at DAMU, the Prague Theatre Academy. She speaks Czech and German.

Mentor, teacher and invaluable resource to the Atlanta Theatre community, Ms. Kalke has worked with the Emory University Theatre Department, Creative Writing Department and Center for Ethics; Kennesaw State University; Atlanta Women in Theatre; Working Title Playwrights; and Actor’s Express.

“It’s an honor to join Rachel May, the Synchronicity Board, and this great staff in the work of uplifting women and girls,” says Ms. Kalke. “I am humbled in this historic moment to support Synchronicity’s mission, and so excited to assume a leadership position in the Atlanta theatre community. Synchronicity is poised for growth, and I’m honored to grow my strategic thinking and management skills with this wonderful company.  I’m excited for the opportunity to closely work with Rachel May, whose taste and artistry I’ve admired since I saw The Long Christmas Ride Home (2005).”

“As one of Synchronicity’s co-founders, I am so proud of our company’s growth in the past several years,” said Producing Artistic Director Rachel May. “Having Celise join us at this pivotal time in our history, as we move into the next phase of embodying our mission, is the perfect step forward. Celise’s smarts and reputation are un-paralleled, and she has deep collaborative roots in both the local and national theatre community. Beyond that, she is a strategic thinker, a visionary and a bridge-builder; the exact qualities we need in our new Managing Director. I cannot wait to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with her as we work with our stellar board of directors to get smarter, gutsier, bolder and bigger.”

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am thrilled to welcome Celise Kalke as Synchronicity’s next Managing Director,” said Geneva Gross, Chair of Synchronicity Theatre’s Board of Directors.  “Celise has not only been a supporter of Synchronicity over the years, but is excited to help fulfill the mission with innovative and strategic thinking that will help elevate and expand our outreach in the community.  Her leadership and business acumen, coupled with her deeply-rooted experience within the national theatre community, is exactly what we need during this exciting growth stage of the organization. We see the partnership between Celise as Managing Director, and Rachel as Producing Artistic Director, as marking an exciting chapter in our development.”

In June, playwright Lee Nowell stepped down as Managing Director of the organization in order to focus on a variety of creative projects. She remains an Artistic Associate for the Company. Since June, Virginia (Gin) Nugent has served as Interim Managing Director.

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ABOUT SYNCHRONICITY THEATRE

Founded in 1997 by four women with a desire to work collaboratively and bring challenging, meaningful theatre to Atlanta audiences, Synchronicity Theatre produces smart, gutsy, high-quality theatre that sparks community connections and uplifts the voices of women and girls. Synchronicity supports women artists, forges long-term and effective community partnerships and develops new work. The Company reaches nearly 14,000 patrons a year through its season of plays for adults (Bold Voices) and families (Family Series); community outreach; educational programming, including Playmaking for Kids (PFK) summer camps and after school programs, and the award-winning Playmaking for Girls (PFG) program. An intimate theatre in the heart of midtown at Peachtree Pointe became Synchronicity’s home in the summer of 2014.

 

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5 FUN FACTS: Playwright Jessica Swale

jessica swale

Nell Gwynn’s Jessica Swale never set out to be a playwright.

British playwright Jessica Swale’s Nell Gwynn runs through Oct. 21 at Synchronicity Theatre (details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636). Her script won London theater’s 2015 Olivier Award for best new comedy and makes its American debut this month at Synchronicity and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

The comedy with song and dance is set in 1660 London. It charts the rise of an unlikely heroine — a quick-witted orange hawker and bawdy girl — from her roots in poverty to her success as Britain’s most celebrated actress and her place in the heart of King Charles II.

Here are a few fun facts about Swale and her play, compiled by production dramaturg Kathy Janich.

1.  NOT A WRITER: “Even thinking of myself as a writer took a bit of getting used to.” Swale, 36, spent 10 years as a director before losing herself in a research for a different project and being unable to let go. Thus, her first play, Blue It details the fight British women undertook in the 1880s for the right to a university education.

2.  WOMEN RULE: Her first draft for Nell Gwynn had roles for five women and seven men. “I put in another couple of parts for women, because I didn’t want there to be a gender imbalance, and now those parts are completely integral to the story.”

3.  WHEN/WHERE SHE WRITES: “All the time! I often snatch bits of writing time in the cracks of the day — on train journeys, for half an hour in a cafe before going out somewhere. I focus well in small windows of time.”

4.  SHE PROCRASTINATES: “All the time! I used to get told off for daydreaming at primary school. I realize now that meandering thinking is often the way you solve problems. If I’m stuck on a character or an element of a plot, often leaving it, then sloshing it around my head on the bus, leads me to solve it.”

5.  WHAT SHE WISHES SHE’D BEEN TOLD WHEN STARTING OUT: “That the theater was worthwhile and rewarding as a career. All jobs are insecure now, so why not do the thing you love?”

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