One of the Bay Area’s leading theater companies has a new artistic director. Orinda’s California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes) announced Wednesday that Eric Ting will join the company in November.
“He has this boundless enthusiasm for making art that is just contagious,” Cal Shakes managing director Susie Falk said.
Ting, 42, will become one of the few Chinese-Americans heading a major theater company.
Currently associate artistic director at the well-regarded Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Ting takes over from Jon Moscone, whose 15 year tenure of Cal Shakes was marked not only by well-regarded productions of Shakespeare but also included dramas by modern playwrights -- many of them of color.
Falk says CalShakes picked Ting partly because he’s committed to continuing those efforts.
“Making the work of Shakespeare and other classics available to more people,” Falk said of Ting's approach. “[Ting believes] that this work belongs to everybody, and that theater shouldn’t be an elite experience."
In a statement, Ting said he's honored to join a theater company "whose mission and programming both on and off its stage so thoroughly embody what I believe a theater can and must be today.”
Falk said Ting will bring something new to the company. She said Moscone was often interested in how plays differed from each other, while Ting is more interested in their similarities. “Like when you put a play next to Shakespeare -- how do those two plays talk to each other," Falk said.
Ting studied directing and puppetry at West Virginia University, and then got an MFA from the International Actor Training Academy at the University of Tennessee.
Falk said Ting and Moscone are each picking two plays for the 2016 season, still to be announced.
"Eric Ting is an inspired choice for CalShakes," said Brad Erickson, executive director of Theatre Bay Area, an umbrella organization for the region's performing arts scene. "Eric is a well-known leader in the field who stands out for his dual commitment to bold artistry and the engagement of theater with the larger community and issues of social change."
Ting will officially take over as artistic director Nov. 1. But Falk expects it will take him a few months to settle in. The director, together with his wife and infant daughter will be moving from Brooklyn to the challenging East Bay real estate market.