Wednesday, August 26, 2009

BoarsHead hires interim artistic associate

BoarsHead Theater announced today that Paul Riopelle has been hired as its interim artistic associate. Created under the theater’s re-organization plan, this new position will temporarily assume creative duties including play selection and casting, ensuring the artistic quality of productions and upholding the integrity of the theater’s performances, as well as providing educational leadership.

Riopelle’s new position was created to help reduce costs for the theater. His duties, once performed by a full-time artistic director, will also require him to perform additional duties on the main stage, in order to earn benefits through Equity, the actors’ union, at no additional cost to the theater.

“This position obviously required a uniquely qualified individual,” said John Dale Smith, executive director of BoarsHead Theater. “We needed to find someone with strong artistic vision and proven leadership experience, but who was also a seasoned Equity performer we could utilize in the main stage shows, in order to offer health coverage at no extra cost to the BoarsHead. Beyond that, we were ideally seeking an individual with national experience in the industry, as well as strong previous ties to the BoarsHead and other Michigan theaters. Paul was hands-down the perfect person for the job.”

Riopelle is a Detroit-area native who graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Manhattan. He has since split his time between New York and Chicago. He played the Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth in the off-Broadway premiere of “The Brothers Booth,” and recently completed the first national Broadway tour of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” He has also served as a director, theater educator and administrator at several theaters and drama programs across the country.

In 2005, Riopelle was honored to work closely with his hero, Dustin Hoffman, serving as the star’s stand-in on the feature film “Stranger Than Fiction.” That same year, Riopelle won acting awards from both the Detroit Free Press and Lansing State Journal for his performance as Charlie in BoarsHead Theater’s production of “Stones in His Pockets.” He returned to BoarsHead Theater in 2009 to join the cast of “Forbidden Broadway.” In addition to BoarsHead Theater, Riopelle has worked in Michigan at Meadow Brook Theatre, the Performance Network, Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival, and the Jewish Ensemble Theatre.

“I am excited and honored to be accepting the position of Interim Artistic Associate,” Riopelle said. “I feel fortunate to be in a life position to accept this challenge at an enormous and necessary savings to the BoarsHead. I deeply admire the contributions of our previous artistic directors, and am committed to ensuring the artistic integrity and quality that have been their legacy at the BoarsHead for over 40 years. I will work tirelessly to ensure the sterling caliber of entertainment that our patrons have come to expect, and to merit the artistic and personal trust of the Michigan theater community.”

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