KNOXVILLE — Calvin MacLean, department head of theatre at UT Knoxville and artistic director of the Clarence Brown Theatre (CBT), recently was elected president of the University/Resident Theatre Association (URTA) by a unanimous vote of participating URTA member universities. MacLean will assume responsibilities as president in July 2010 for a two-year term.
“Cal takes on the presidency with considerable knowledge about URTA. He also has this terrific leadership background of both an important training program at Tennessee, and a major professional, League of Resident Theatres in the Clarence Brown. This linkage between training and professional theatre perfectly reflects URTA’s constituency and central interests,” said Scott Steele, executive director of URTA.
MacLean has been with UT Knoxville for four years. Under his leadership, the Clarence Brown Theatre has experienced a renaissance, with increased ticket sales, increased corporate sponsorships and revitalized board support.
“Cal’s leadership has energized the entire arts community. Subscriptions are up. Sponsorship has grown and the productions have been outstanding. We’re proud that he has been elected president of URTA and hope all the members will come to Knoxville and see, firsthand, what a great theatre program he has created,” said Townes Osborn, chair of the Clarence Brown Theatre Society Advisory Board.
Marrying the professional theatre with the theatre department’s academic program, MacLean has improved an already outstanding graduate training program and revitalized undergraduate theatre education.
“The University/Resident Theatre Association has been an important part of my career as an educator and professional director,” MacLean said. “I have been interested in the issues of professional training within the university for some time — a kind of ‘teaching hospital’ for theatre training. The University of Tennessee has perhaps the most dynamic blend of educational and professional mission, and its relationship with URTA is an important aspect of its program. UT’s visibility in this organization will be a great benefit to our program, and the work I do in URTA will be a wonderful culmination of many of my own career interests.
“The Clarence Brown Theatre is respected both as a professional theatre and a professional theatre training program. I believe CBT’s reputation contributes to my election.”
Previously, MacLean was professor of theatre and head of directing at Illinois State University for 15 years, and artistic director of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Active in Chicago, he earned numerous awards as a director, most notably for his production of Joshua Sobol’s “Ghetto,” which won four Joseph Jefferson Awards, including Outstanding Production of a Play and the first-ever Michael Maggio Award for Outstanding Direction. Other professional credits include Chicago’s Tony Award winning Victory Gardens Theatre, the Connecticut Repertory Theatre and Indiana Repertory.
URTA is the nation’s oldest and largest consortium of professional, graduate theatre training programs and associated professional theatre companies.
URTA advances theatre by connecting educational theatre programs with professional theatre and performing arts industries, promoting professional practices and artistic excellence in higher education, and assisting students with their transition into the profession.