It’s a case of musical chairs, managing director style.
In December, Playwrights’ Center managing director Kerri Kellerman left the company where she had been administrative leader since 2013. She was poached by the Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley, Calif., where she assumed the same post in January..
Now the Playwrights’ Center has done some poaching of its own. It has hired Robert Chelimsky, managing director of the Epic Theatre Ensemble in New York City, to fill the post vacated by Kellerman. He starts May 1.
Chelimsky is a veteran manager who has led arts organizations for more than two decades. He spent six years at Epic, during which it premiered plays by Nilaja Sun ("Pike St.") and commissioned playwrights such as Dominique Morisseau, Heather Raffo and Keith Josef Adkins.
Before his spell at the Epic, he spent five years as managing director of the Chautauqua (N.Y) Theater Company, where he worked with artistic directors Vivienne Benesch and Ethan McSweeny. Chelimsky also founded a production company and has worked on Shakespeare-in-the-schools.
When he moves to the Twin Cities, he will join producing artistic director Jeremy Cohen.
In a release, Stephen H. Strand, board chair of the center, praised Chelimsky’s demonstrated “passion for mission-focused work and artist advocacy.”
The center, whose alumni include August Wilson, Lee Blessing and Barbara Field, celebrates its 45th anniversary this spring.