The artistic director of the Huntington Theater Company in Boston has resigned, the company said Wednesday, after months of upheaval in the work environment and a broadcast of grievances over the conduct of senior executives.
Director Peter DuBois ran the company for 12 years before he left, according to a statement from the company’s president and chairman of the board. The statement did not provide a clear reason for the resignation, but said it came at a time when the challenges of the pandemic had illuminated concerns about the theaters’ working environment and issues of structural imbalance.
A spokeswoman for the theater company, Temple Gill, said Mr DuBoiss’s resignation followed a board investigation that began after receiving a complaint last month. She declined to give details of the nature of the complaint, but said 20 staff members were interviewed and spoke about various issues surrounding the workplace culture.
The Boston Globe reported that a group of employees emailed board leaders last month, expressing concerns about retaliation from supervisors and a general lack of accountability in management.
In an email statement, Mr. DuBois said that during a time when the theater is not producing, and during a time of truly hopeful cultural transformation, I am no longer the right fit for the job.
In August, an Instagram account called Boston BIPOC Theater, using an acronym for Black and Indigenous and People of Color, was created to post descriptions of anonymous experiences of city art workers amid an industry outcry over institutional racism. Many of the posts on the Instagram account were aimed at Huntington. Anonymous people who identified themselves as current or former employees wrote about deeply rooted issues with institutional racism at the company and took issue with the way the company had laid off workers during the pandemic.
At one point, Huntington was called upon to respond directly to Instagram posts, and he did, commenting, in part, While we believe that social media is not the best way to conduct these complex conversations, we hear your voice and work on these issues daily.
In the past few months, Huntington has laid off 11 employees and laid off about 46 more, Ms Gill said. The company, which has put its season on hold indefinitely, estimates it has lost around $ 6.3 million due to canceled shows and lost rental income.
In the company’s statement on Wednesday, board leaders wrote that Huntington was using his time when not producing shows to become a more equitable institution and to intensify dialogue with our staff and artists at BIPOC.
Mr DuBois said in his statement that he was proud of the strides that had been made in diversity in the theater company during his tenure, noting that while the pandemic had not hit, more than half of Huntingtons’ acting contracts last season would have gone to Artists of Color. He added that he hoped people of color would be considered to replace him.
I hope that by resigning I can create an opening, said DuBois, which allows the theater to continue on its path of structural transformation.
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