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Play On Shakespeare Appoints Kamilah Long as Managing Director



Play On's new Managing Director Kamilah Long
Photo credit: Jenny Graham

Play On Shakespeare, the not-for-profit organization dedicated to exploring the world of Shakespeare through translation and adaptation, today announces the appointment of Kamilah Long as Managing Director. After she was recruited to Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) by FAIR Manager Sharifa Johka, Kamilah Long worked with the festival for the last 5+ years. She served in many roles, including Associate Director of Leadership Engagements, Director of Leadership Gifts, and Sr. Director of Individual Giving and Development Operations.

Play On Shakespeare’s mission is to enhance the understanding of Shakespeare’s plays in performance for theatre professionals, students, teachers, and audiences by engaging with contemporary translations and adaptations. In the fall of 2015, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced a new commissioning program called Play on! 36 playwrights translate Shakespeare. The project was simple yet enthusiastically ambitious in its original conception: to commission 36 playwrights to translate 39 plays attributed to Shakespeare into contemporary, modern English over the course of three years. The group of playwrights commissioned by the project included at least 51 percent women and writers of color. In its three-year tenure at OSF, Play on! worked with nearly 1,000 actors, directors, stage managers and producers on nearly 80 readings, workshops, productions and demonstrations in 19 different cities, collaborating with 24 different theatres and academic institutions around the world.

Play on! was energized by its overwhelming scope and success, and the project’s producing team secured funding to form their own new, not-for-profit company. On January 1, 2019, they established Play On Shakespeare. Their first endeavor as a new organization saw them producing the Play On Festival in New York City– a series of staged readings of all 39 commissioned translations in an action-packed 33 days. The festival engaged hundreds of artists and was produced in partnership with Classic Stage Company and Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Plans for this fall and early 2021 will be unveiled shortly.

Long says, “I believe in paying my dues, working hard, being authentic, showing mutual respect, collaborating and making dreams come true!” During her tenure at OSF, Long managed, organized, launched, and completed OSF’s $5.1MM Access for All campaign. As the Senior Director of Individual Giving at OSF, along with the Director of Development, she led strategy and execution for fundraising for the development team and spearheaded the launch of OSF’s first ever crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $5MM. “I am ecstatic to be named incoming Managing Director of Play On Shakespeare and to begin this extraordinary partnership with Lue Douthit, Taylor Bailey, Summer Martin, the POS Board, its artists, and the entire theatre community. I believe in the mission of Play On! and how it wants to engage with the world, what it aims to achieve and its ability to shift the world by shaking things up in such a magnificent and necessary way. This position is a dream come true for me. I am a fan of the work and a fan of the entire POS team and I can’t wait to start this new journey with them.”

Long is well known for her work in the community as a leader in the area of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I). She is also a facilitator and has served as chair of the Resource for People of Color (RPOC) for four years and produced their annual retreat. Long’s experience as a professional actor, producer, speaker, educator and director gives her a unique combination of skills that is often relied on in the theatre world.

As the Managing Director of Play On Shakespeare, Long will provide shared leadership with CEO and Creative Director, Lue Douthit. Douthit says: “We are thrilled that Kamilah Long, who we worked with during our OSF days and is a longtime supporter of Play On, has agreed to join us as Managing Director. She sees the world through an expansive creative lens, and has a depth of experience as a producer on the artistic side and senior director on the development side. This newly-created position oversees all operations and I can’t wait to begin working with her.

As we look to the future, we remain focused on our mission of making Shakespeare accessible to theater professionals, audiences, students and teachers. We’re collaborating with Arizona State University’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies to publish all 39 texts, we’re soon to be launching a new website, we continue to work with theatres pursuing production opportunities with the scripts, and we’re working with other partner organizations on exciting projects that we’ll be announcing soon. To keep up with our ambitions, and to generate even more opportunities, we knew we needed to expand our capacity.”

Play On Shakespeare Board President, Ken Hitz: “We are thrilled to welcome Kamilah to Play On Shakespeare as Managing Director. Having traveled with Kamilah to attend productions of Play On translations in theaters around the country, I’ve felt her enthusiasm for the project and her desire to help make Shakespeare more accessible. Kamilah’s extensive experience will help Play On build on our successes and move towards fulfilling our even more ambitious plans for the future.”

About Lue Douthit (CEO and Creative Director)
During her 25 years at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Douthit oversaw a full service literary department as Director of Literary Development and Dramaturgy. Play on! began in 2012 as a pilot program under her supervision. She was the Production Dramaturg for more than 50 productions, including 15 world premieres and over two dozen Shakespeare productions. In 2009, she was the co-producer and co-founder of the Black Swan Lab for new play development at OSF which she ran until 2016. In 2019, she co-founded Play on Shakespeare, which carries forward the Shakespeare translation work began at OSF. Douthit is the recipient of the 1999 Literary Manager & Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) Prize in Dramaturgy: The Elliott Hayes Award. She received a Ph.D at the University of Washington, an MFA from Trinity University, and an MA from University of Arizona.

About Taylor Bailey (Associate Creative Director)
Taylor Bailey spent four years in Chicago where he worked on 12 productions with The Neo-Futurists. He served as Operations Manager and Education Coordinator for The Neo-Futurists, as well as the program developer and coordinator for Neo-Access, a multi-winged strategy for diversity and inclusion as well as accessibility for the differently abled. As a freelance director, performer, storyteller, dramaturg and producer worked with: First Floor Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, American Theatre Company, The Agency Collective, Timeline Theatre, About Face Productions, Collaboration Theatre Company and others. In Dallas, worked with WaterTower Theatre and served as the Associate Artistic Director of Sideman Productions for two years. Additional experience as a teaching artist, IT coordinator and project manager. Publications: Contributor, New York Times Bestseller It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living with Dan Savage and Terry Miller.

About Summer Martin (Director of Programs & Operations)
Summer Martin has spent over a decade in domestic and international grant management for non-profits focused on the arts and education. Summer’s commitment to community empowerment informs her dedication to the mission of Play On Shakespeare. Education: BA, Mount Holyoke College; MSc, Maryland University of Integrative Health

About The Hitz Foundation
The Hitz Foundation supports projects in science, the arts, and the environment throughout the world. In addition to Play On! Shakespeare, the foundation also supports several archaeological projects in northern Guatemala and funded the largest LiDAR mapping ever undertaken for archaeological research to support these projects (discovering 60,000 new Mayan structures). The foundation funds Global Digital Heritage which captures state-of-the-art 3D models of museum collections and heritage sites and shares them with the world at no cost. The foundation also supports several environmental projects including the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, which protects the ecosystems and biodiversity of East Africa through conservation efforts that directly benefit wildlife, wilderness and the local Maasai communities.

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For more information, please contact Matt Gross at Heart Spade PR, matt@heartspadepr.com.

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