Brisbane’s La Boite Theatre Company will celebrate its 90th birthday in 2015 and until today, the company’s new Artistic Director and CEO Chris Kohn was set to lead the company into its milestone season.
After taking the reins from outgoing CEO/Artistic Director David Berthold in May, Kohn was scheduled to lead the company into its 90th birthday year with his newly launched 2015 season which includes a reimagined version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and an adaptation of Medea with which he was set to make his La Boite directorial debut.
However, it was confirmed today by The Chair of La Boite Theatre Company, Professor Paul Makeham that Kohn will be stepping down from the dual position of CEO/Artistic Director due to “family circumstances” and that he and his family will return to Victoria to be close to their extended family.
“The La Boite Board and Staff are very sad to see Chris return to Melbourne after launching such an exciting program for 2015. We wish him all the best.” Professor Makeham said.
Chris Kohn was hailed as a “highly respected cultural leader [bringing] an extensive professional network to the role” earlier this year, and La Boite’s official statement revealed he was the selection panel’s unanimous choice when he was appointed as Berthold’s replacement.
It is understood that Kohn will be heading back to Geelong, after spending 2012-2014 in Brisbane.
“It saddens me to be leaving La Boite after such a short time – it is an exceptional company with a hugely talented staff, fantastic board and wonderful history. I believe it is amongst the most vibrant and engaged theatre companies in Australia.” Kohn said today in a statement.
After a further recruitment process Todd MacDonald has been appointed to the position and will lead La Boite into its 90th birthday program in 2015, taking over the position from January 2015.
Currently the Artistic Associate at Queensland Theatre Company, MacDonald has directed a number of acclaimed productions such as Kelly (touring nationally in 2015), The Mountaintop as well as acting in the 2014 hit, Venus in Fur. He was previously Artistic Director and a co-founder of The Store Room Theatre in Melbourne where he was a passionate advocate for independent artists and launched the careers of many of the next generation of Australia’s most talented actors and directors.
“Todd is an award winning actor, director and arts leader, and we have great confidence in his ability to continue the great work Chris has developed at La Boite. Todd’s directorial and acting work on the mainstage at Queensland Theatre Company has been of exceptional quality. Through his position as Artistic Associate he has also led the development of new work and engagement with emerging artists.” Professor Makeham said.
“I am extremely pleased that Todd MacDonald will be taking the reins. He is an artist of great integrity and passion, with an impressive track record in artistic leadership, both in Brisbane and nationally. I can’t imagine anyone better placed to take La Boite to the next level, in 2015 and beyond,” Kohn said.
It is unclear as to whether Kohn will fulfil his intended La Boite directorial debut with Suzie Miller’s Medea, but La Boite have confirmed with AussieTheatre that he will be be directing rising star Pacharo Mzembe and his brother Gadeon Mzembe in Prize Fighter, September 2015.