WCT hires new artistic director

Western Canada Theatre has hired the co-ordinator of new play development at Ontario's Stratford Shakespeare Festival as its new artistic director.

Daryl Cloran, described as one of the country's most sought-after young directors, has directed productions across Canada and internationally, including in Bosnia and South Africa.

"One of the things that really excites me is the opportunity to become part of a company and to become part of a community specifically," Cloran said when reached in Ontario Thursday.

Cloran assumes his new duties July 14. He succeeds Jeremy Tow, who was forced to step aside due to an ongoing battle with cancer only months after filling the directorial role vacated by the late David Ross.

"We were honoured to receive 30 strong applications from across the country and beyond," said Tim Rodgers, board president. They had a tough decision, he noted.

"At the end of the process, the board believes Daryl has the experience, energy, drive and vision to move the company forward, building on the legacy of David Ross and the artistic achievements of Jeremy Tow."

Cloran, originally from Sarnia, Ont., graduated from Queen's University and the Canadian Film Centre. He is the founding artistic director of Theatrefront, where he directed many productions that earned nominations for the coveted Dora Awards honouring Toronto's best in performing arts. He has also served as artistic director of Theatre & Co. in Kitchener-Waterloo and intern artistic director of Soulpepper Theatre Company in Toronto.

He also co-wrote and directed the feature film Late Fragment (2007), which was produced by the National Film Board and the Canadian Film Centre.

Among professional honours, Cloran has received the Canada Council's John Hirsch Prize for outstanding emerging theatre director, the Toronto Theatre Emerging Artist Award and a Robert Merritt Award for outstanding direction for This Is How It Goes.

Return: The Sarajevo Project, a collective theatre creation he undertook with a Theatrefront ensemble, received acclaim premiering at Toronto's Tarragon Theatre four years ago.

Cloran is married to actor Holly Lewis and they have a son, Liam, 2. Family life figures in his decision to take the Kamloops position.

"The nomadic life of a theatre director was easy when there wasn't a baby in the mix," he said.

Professionally, he's looking forward to working with a reputable regional company, "developing new works and doing work that appeals to diverse audiences."

He doesn't take on full-time duties until Christmas. In the meantime he's directing plays in the Thousand Islands and Hamilton, and taking to Toronto Stratford's production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

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