Daniel Elihu Kramer to take reins of Chester Theatre Company in September

New Leadership at Chester: Daniel Elihu Kramer

New Leadership at Chester: Daniel Elihu Kramer

Byam Stevens to Step Down After 2015 Summer Season
Daniel Elihu Kramer Tenure to Begin September of 2015

Chester, MA: Chester Theatre Company will have a new Producing Artistic Director starting in September of 2015. After almost two decades, incumbent Artistic Director Byam Stevens will step down to pursue other projects. Daniel Elihu Kramer, who has served as CTC’s Associate Artistic Director since 2012, will take on the artistic leadership for CTC’s 2016 season, the company’s 27th year of producing professional summer theatre in Western Massachusetts.

There is an exciting summer of plays on tap in Chester this summer, and we take a look at the slate created by Byam Stevens in this preview. It will be a tough act to follow, but Kramer is ready to take the reins and move the company along.

Kramer, who first directed at CTC in 2010, said: “I am excited and honored to be stepping into the role of Producing Artistic Director, and I deeply appreciate the faith the Board has placed in me. Byam has done so much over nineteen years to develop a vibrant theatre here in Chester, a place where artists and audiences come together to share lively, thought-provoking productions and conversations. CTC is positioned to take exciting steps in the years ahead—in developing new work and new audiences, and in broadening our educational programs. I look forward to partnering with the Board, with our dedicated patrons, and with current and future artists in leading this gem of a theatre toward an expanded presence in the region and in the national scene.”

Daniel Elihu Kramer works as a director, playwright, filmmaker, and educator. CTC audiences know his directing work from plays including The Amish Project, The Turn of the Screw, and Tryst. He also wrote CTC’s 2011 hit Pride@Prejudice. He has been artistic director of Salt Lake Shakespeare, associate artistic director of Spiral Stage, and assistant to the artistic director of Circle Repertory Theatre. He has directed extensively regionally and in New York, and his plays, productions, and directing have received multiple awards. Kramer holds an MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama and a BA from Haverford College, and is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and the Dramatists Guild. He is also currently chair of the theatre department at Smith College.

CTC Board Chair Cipora Brown said on behalf of the Board of Directors: “This is an exciting time for Chester Theatre Company. As saddened as we are by the retirement of our longtime AD and visionary Byam Stevens, we are thrilled to welcome Daniel Elihu Kramer, who has already engaged our audiences with terrific productions in previous seasons. I am looking forward to being surprised, amused, challenged, puzzled and intrigued. He is a worthy successor.”

Stevens will be teaching, writing and freelance directing. “We have accomplished a lot in the last 19 seasons; CTC is a stronger, more stable, more respected theatre company than the one I joined back in 1998. It’s good for arts organizations to have infusions of new blood and new ideas. Daniel has been with CTC for four years, he understands our mission and knows our resource base; more importantly, he has all the gifts necessary to take it to the next level.”

About Chester Theatre Company

Chester Theatre Company, a professional theatre company located in the foothills of the Berkshires, produces 4 plays each summer, performed by topflight actors, directors and designers from across the country. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Byam Stevens, CTC has earned a reputation for producing the best in contemporary theatre — 17 CTC productions have gone on to Off Broadway, regional, national, and international engagements in the last 17 years.

For more information about Chester Theatre Company and its 26th season, visit www.chestertheatre.org

3 thoughts on “Daniel Elihu Kramer to take reins of Chester Theatre Company in September

  1. Come on, Larry. Wasn’t it you who had some interesting observations re S & Co.’s circus-like goings-on?! Is this – my guess, utterly based on nothing but having seen it before – a Board member or 2 who have gotten darn tired at being mostly left out when “what’s doing in the Berks?” is asked, even if THEATRE is front & center? … Can they “up things” with the space, resources, location as they are?

    Mind you, to me CTC has always been akin to those “bistros” you love but are afraid will “get spoiled” if too many people know about them. But I know how little it would take for this or that theater endeavor to fold if it doesn’t grow. Not to mention that their audience always strikes me as old, even in a landscape where 50 is on the young side. (Not snarky, btw, just wondering if Byram maybe didn’t get out ahead of his aud. a little too far.)

    Oh well, there must be a “lesson or 2” to be learned as new hands take the wheel – or was it just the proverbial “time for a change,” no drama?

    • Love your comments Ed, but as you can tell this is CTC’s formal announcement of the upcoming change in leadership. I did write the home page lead-in you quoted. But other than that it is pretty routine pr. When I render an opinion, it has my byline. Those of us who see a lot of theatre have always given the company praise for its choice of plays, most of them for the first time not only in the region, but often in the country. They don’t hit a home run every time, and they are not to everyones. taste, but neither are the Red Sox.

      • Well-spoken, and maybe there just plain WAS “more drama” at S&Co – which you reported with verve and excellence…. But I’m a fan of a couple of mystery book writers who not infrequently point out that “coincidences” are often something other than that…. Anyhow, I could not agree with you more that this IS (CTC) a company that has made more than a handful of bold programming choices – I certainly hope that the Board didn’t opt for a more play-it-safe style and staffing to suit. (I just figured that you would KNOW, whether or not you chose to tell.) As with S&Co., I guess it will take a year or 2 to divine the effects … and we’ll probably be free forever to guess at any “subtext.”

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