Harlem Stage Names New Artistic Director and CEO | Playbill

Industry News Harlem Stage Names New Artistic Director and CEO

The New York cultural institution has been supporting new work by visionary artists of color for four decades.

Dr. Indira Etwaroo Hollis King

Dr. Indira Etwaroo has been named the new artistic director and CEO of Harlem Stage, succeeding Patricia Cruz, who has the led the New York cultural institution that supports new work by visionary artists of color for 25 years.

Producer, director, scholar, and arts and cultural executive Etwaroo—the first director of theatre at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple in Cupertino, California—will officially begin her work with the New York company July 1.

For Harlem Stage, Etwaroo's vision is one of growth and expansion, seeking innovative means of telling Harlem Stage's story further and wider, and ensuring that the artistry nurtured and presented by the organization is experienced by larger audiences on both live and virtual stages.

Etwaroo previously served as executive artistic director of the Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn, leading the theatre through radical growth, increasing revenue by more than 200%. She also helmed the launch of The Black Seed, a groundbreaking initiative, and fundraised over $10 million of support for Black theatres throughout the U.S. during COVID. She was the founding executive producer of The Greene Space in NYC, bringing live, on-air and online video content to audiences across the world; and the founding executive producer and director of NPR Presents, the global live events platform.

Harlem Stage Board President Courtney F. Lee-Mitchell stated, “I am so thrilled to welcome Indira to Harlem Stage! Her longtime devotion to the arts and artists of color has been exemplary, and we are all excited to work with her to expand upon Pat's legacy and Harlem Stage's mission to celebrate Harlem, its artists, and artists of color from around the world.”

“I have lived my life governed by values of artistry, democracy, and equity. I am profoundly humbled to have the opportunity to work in a place with the rich legacy that is Harlem and to lead the internationally influential New York cultural institution that is Harlem Stage, a beacon of the values that I hold dear,” Etwaroo shared at Harlem Stage's June 3 gala. “It is not lost on me that my leadership tenure begins at a time when we must face—head on—the fragility of our fractured democracy, challenge demagoguery and the normalization of blatant falsehoods, and demand that cultural institutions be thought of as first responders and artists as frontline workers in this quest to create a more just, more truthful, more inclusive and more equitable world for the next generation and for generations to come. I am deeply committed to the work ahead.”

Harlem Stage’s appointment of a new artistic director and CEO is part of a five-year strategic plan; the company has raised over $17 million in its Campaign for Harlem Stage, a $25 million fundraising initiative co-chaired by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Lupita Nyong’o, and Wendell Pierce, to secure the institution’s long-term future and expand on its work.

At the June 3 gala, which included the artistic director announcement, Harlem Stage also conferred the Transformative Artist Award to 2024 Tony nominee Camille A. Brown; the first Patricia Cruz Medallion Award to longtime Board member Jenette Kahn; and Harlem Stage’s annual Philanthropy Award to BET/Jeanine Liburd.

Visit HarlemStage.org.

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