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The Lyric Stage Company of Boston Announces the Third Generation of Leadership

Courtney O’Connor, Artistic Director and Matt Chapuran, Executive Director

Ron Ritchell and Polly Hogan, Founders (1974), Artistic Directors (1974-1997)

Spiro Veloudos, Producing Artistic Director (1998-2019)

The Lyric Stage Company of Boston announced today that Courtney O’Connor has been named as the third Artistic Director of the Lyric Stage Company of Boston.   Matt Chapuran continues on as Executive Director, a position he attained in August, 2019.

Matt Chapuran and Courtney O’Connor both came of age in the Boston theatre community at the same time as the Lyric Stage and they have a rich history with the company. In the 1990s, Matt performed at the Lyric Stage as part of the US Improv Theatre League, and he was an intern for Lyric Stage’s Teen Neighborhood Theatre during the tenure of Ron Ritchell and Polly Hogan. Courtney was given some of her first directorial opportunities by Spiro Veloudos, including acting as Associate Director on the award-winning production of Nicholas Nickleby, Parts 1&2, and directing numerous productions herself including the recent The Cake.

Goals to be expanded upon by the new leadership:

  • Building on the intimacy, variety, and excellence that Lyric Stage audiences have come to expect.  
  • Leading the way in creating an inclusive, diverse, multi-generational, open atmosphere
  • Continuing to create a space for actors to pursue careers in Boston, and expanding that opportunity to other artists who work behind the scenes.  
  • Creating a program through which seasoned design professionals mentor new designers.  
  • Growing the Lyric Stage’s commitment to representation for women and people of color on-stage and behind the scenes (designers, stage management).   
  • Entering into the world of new play development, and actively exporting Boston’s theatrical voices nationally. 
  • Continuing partnerships with The Front Porch Arts Collective, Fresh Ink Theatre, Pao Arts Center 
  • Committing more resources to City Stage (now under the auspices of the Lyric Stage) and its educational programming, bringing live theatre to more schools and classrooms in the city of Boston and continuing the rich program at the Children’s Museum.

Courtney and Matt say that Season 2020-21, their first curated season, will be joyous, relevant, open. Seven productions – two large musicals and five plays – will all be directed by women. The inherent intimacy of the Lyric Stage’s 240-seat venue demands that the audience enter into a relationship with characters.  So, the stories that the Lyric Stage likes to tell are character-driven, intense, layered, complex human stories from many points of view – stories that come from the heart. The 2020-21 season will be announced in late February.

Members of the Lyric Stage community weighed in on this important announcement:

Jo-An Heileman, President of the Lyric Stage Board of Directors

“The Lyric Stage board and I are thrilled that the third generation of leadership for the Lyric Stage is now in place.   Matt and Courtney come to us with new ideas, new energy, and a sense of tradition and renewal in equal parts.   We look forward to their first curated season, which should be announced in a little over a month.

Dawn M. Simmons Co-Founder of The Front Porch Arts Collective

“It has been my great honor to work with the team at Lyric Stage Company over the last decade.  The Lyric Stage has been an artistic home, giving me my first professional show and championing my work.  The partnership with The Front Porch has been a model for collaboration and the future of theater in Boston.  Our co-production “Breath and Imagination” was the inaugural production for The Front Porch Arts Collective and set the tone for the quality of work we want to produce and the opportunities we want to open to Boston’s theatre makers of color. We are so excited for the future of the Lyric Stage with Courtney shaping the artistic vision of this influential institution. 

Pam Eddinger, President of Bunker Hill Community College:  

“From its inclusive casting to play choices that reflect a multiplicity of voices, the Lyric Stage has been a leading cultural institution. I expect those commitments to only deepen under Matt and Courtney’s leadership. Just as Bunker Hill is a home for local students, the Lyric Stage is a home for local artists.  Buckle up for thought-provoking, sometimes uncomfortable, but always timely rides!”

Bios:

Matt Chapuran, Executive Director, was the Managing Director of the Lyric Stage from 2014 to 2018.  He was previously Managing Director of Stoneham Theatre, where he co-produced over 70 plays, musicals, concerts, and educational productions for an annual audience that grew to over 50,000. During his tenure, Matt ran the 2010 Boston Marathon with Producing Artistic Director Weylin Symes in support of Stoneham Theatre’s educational mission. At the Nora Theatre Company, Matt was Managing Director during the inception of a capital campaign that ultimately led to the construction of the Central Square Theater. Matt also managed institutional giving for the Huntington Theatre Company, and was most recently the Director of Development for Conservatory Lab Charter School Foundation in Dorchester. A graduate of Boston College with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College, Matt has performed, taught, and directed improvisation for over two decades, most recently as a part of Babson College’s M.B.A. program, as one half of the improv team The Angriest Show in the World, and as the director of Improvised History. He lives in Roslindale with his wife and their three daughters.

Courtney O’Connor is the Artistic Director of the Lyric Stage and a senior affiliated faculty member in performing arts at Emerson College. She has directed with several theatres in the Boston area, including the Lyric Stage, Plays in Place, The Nora Theatre, UBU Theater, The Bostonian Society, AIM Stage, Coyote Theatre, Emerson Stage, UMass Boston, Suffolk University, Brandeis University, and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (intern company). Lyric Stage productions she has directed include The Cake, Buyer & Cellar, Stage Kiss, Red Hot Patriot, Stones in His Pockets, and The Miracle Worker. Courtney received the Elliot Norton award for her work as the Associate Director on the Lyric Stage’s production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby and the Alan L. Stanzler Award for Excellence in Teaching. She received her B.A. from Cabrini University and her M.A. from Emerson College. courtneyoc.com

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