Jubilee Theatre proudly announces the appointment of nationally respected stage director and stage and film actor William (Bill) Earl Ray as the company’s new Artistic Director, after a year’s intensive search. An Austin area native, Bill Ray earned his theatre degree from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. A seasoned professional as an actor, director and Artistic Director, he brings a combination of creativity, inspiration and business acumen that will allow the Fort Worth TX company to flourish as the region’s leading presenter of stage works that reflect the richness and depth of the African-American experience.
Over several decades Bill has performed and directed regionally for Jubilee Theatre, Circle Theatre, Stage West, Dallas Theater Center and Theatre Three. From 2008 through 2010, he was the Resident Director for African-American Repertory Theatre, and he is the former Artistic Director for Portland, Oregon’s Ndaba Theatre. His film and television acting credits include The Tuskegee Airmen (HBO) Better-Off Dead (Lifetime) and Terror in the Towers – Without Warning (NBC).
Bill welcomes the opportunity to lead Jubilee Theatre into the future as a financially sound non-profit organization that continues to produce dynamic works of artistic integrity. “I don’t plan to make any swift changes in programming. It’s very important to build relationships of trust with our patrons, supporters and staff while maintaining quality work that fits into a sensible budget. We are currently operating with a deficit, so my foremost goal is to get the company back into the black and expand fundraising. I have a wide array of contacts across the country, artistic directors who have their fingers on the pulse of new work and know the exciting, new playwrights. I plan to reach out to them and weave in new programming over the next several years, always respecting the company’s mission and distinguished history while expanding and diversifying our audience base. At some point I hope to develop relationships with other fine companies that will foster outstanding co-productions that will expand our national visibility and fundability.”
Bill directed A Love Song for Miss Lydia at Jubilee Theatre in 2007 and most recently performed the role of Kenyatta in Jubilee Theatre’s 2010 Production of Dominique Morisseau’s Sunset Baby. He directed Jubilee Theatre’s current production of August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, running through February 28, 2016. Bill has worked with the distinguished playwright and major director Lloyd Richards (longtime Dean of the Yale School of Drama) at Seattle Repertory Theatre and feels quite at home with Wilson’s plays. He expresses great affection for Seven Guitars and his Jubilee cast. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the hard work the ensemble has done to make this complex production outstanding. It can be a challenge to balance the humor and pathos, the realism and mystical qualities, in Wilson’s work. Both cast and director must understand and embody the play’s innate lyricism in language and make it flow naturally. My cast is topnotch in every respect.”
William (Bill) Earl Ray will assume his post as the Artistic Director for Jubilee Theatre in mid-March, after directing a production of Kermit Frazier’s Smoldering Fires at Passinart Theatre Company in Portland, Oregon. In the meantime, catch his production of August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, featuring some of the finest professional actors in the region.
For further information, contact:
David Hadlock, Marketing Director
817-338-4204 ext. 2
Freddie Watkins photo