Newell to succeed Rudall as Artistic Director
Nicholas Rudall has announced that he will resign as Artistic/Executive Director of Court Theatre, the professional classical repertory theater he founded at the University 23 years ago, and that Charles Newell, winner of the 1992 Alan Schneider Director Award, will succeed him as Artistic Director this June. Rudall, who is currently directing "The Importance of Being Earnest" and played Tobias in the recent, critically acclaimed production of Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance," said he will take his long-awaited first sabbatical this autumn and then return to Court as Founding Director.
"It has been a long and extremely rewarding period of my life," Rudall said. "But it is time for me to step away from the day-to-day administration of the theater and to have the luxury of focusing only on its artistic development."
Regarding Newell's appointment, Rudall said, "Charlie was brought here last year with this transition in mind. His artistic talents, energy, and his commitment to a shared vision for the theater's future have made this appointment a natural choice. I am excited about it and I wish him great success."
When he returns to campus, Rudall will work on the translation and adaptation of a cycle of classic Greek tragedies, which Newell will then direct. Rudall plans to direct and act in plays at Court in the future and will have a prominent role in articulating the artistic vision of the theater.
"Nick Rudall established this theater," said Robert McDermott, chairman of Court Theatre's board. "He raised the initial funds for the building and has been the primary force behind the theater's success and growth. He developed its artistic vision and put into motion the artistic associates group of writers, designers, actors and directors associated with the theater. We are enormously grateful to him for what he has given of himself over the years in the development of the theater, and we look forward to his continued, active participation in the art of the theater, both next season and in years to come." Commenting on Newell's appointment, McDermott said, "Charlie Newell will have all our support as he takes Court to its next stage of development. He came to Court with an outstanding record of achievement, and his work here has been superb. He has the energy and artistic commitment and the understanding of what Nick has set in motion, and we are very excited by the prospect of his leadership." Sandra Karuschak, who joined Court as Business Manager in 1984 and now is Managing Director with responsibility for all of the business aspects of the theater, will continue in that role. Rudall was born in Wales, attended Clare College, Cambridge, and received his Ph.D. in classical languages and literatures from Cornell. He joined the Chicago faculty in 1965 in Classical Languages & Literatures, where he is Associate Professor.
In 1971, he was appointed Artistic Director of Court Theatre, and subsequently he transformed the company from a student activity into a professional theater. He was named Executive Director of Court in 1990.
Among Rudall's most notable directing credits at Court are the premieres of "The Mystery Cycle: Creation" and "The Mystery Cycle: The Passion" (co-directed with Bernard Sahlins), "Measure for Measure," "Candida," "Brief Lives," "Doctor Faustus," "The Glass Menagerie," "Woyzeck" and "Oresteia." He also has appeared in numerous roles at Court, winning a Joseph Jefferson Award for best supporting actor as Joxer in "Juno and the Paycock" and being nominated for best actor for his performance as Pinglet in "The Paradise Hotel."
Rudall is widely known for his translations and adaptations, many of which are being used throughout the United States and Europe. In the past four years alone, Rudall has published new versions of plays by Aristophanes, Sophocles, Feydeau and Henrik Ibsen and has edited, with Bernard Sahlins, the "Mystery Cycle" plays performed by Court in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.
Newell came to Court Theatre last year as Associate Artistic Director and directed "The Triumph of Love" in repertory with "Cloud Nine," which Rudall directed. Both plays received excellent reviews, and the collaboration between Newell and Rudall was cited in a Wall Street Journal article that described the productions as "repertory as repertory should be done." Newell is directing "The Winter's Tale" this spring at PlayMakers Repertory in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Before coming to Chicago, Newell was resident director at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, where he co-directed the Shakespeare History Plays with Garland Wright and directed "Cymbeline" as the inaugural production of the Guthrie Laboratory. He directed "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and has also worked in theaters in New York and around the nation.