New Year, New Leadership

New Orleans native fills artistic director spot at Fort Worth theater

New Orleans native fills artistic director spot at Fort Worth theater

D. Wambui Richardson
Jubilee Theatre's new artistic director Wambui Richardson. Photo by Rob White

Three months after Jubilee Theatre announced its 2018-19 season, it has another big reveal: its next artistic director. Wambui Richardson will assume the role beginning September 4, and spend his first year in Texas getting to know the local talent pool.

The New Orleans native is the fifth artistic director of Fort Worth's Jubilee Theatre, which is the longest-running black theater company in North Texas and the second-longest running black theater in Texas (after Houston's Ensemble Theatre). He's also the fourth person to be named to the position since the 2005 death of Jubilee co-founder Rudy Eastman.

Richardson has spent the last 15 years in Baltimore, where he was a lead teaching artist for Baltimore Center Stage and the director of college and career readiness at the National Academy Foundation, a public secondary school that preps students in the areas of finance, information technology, engineering, law, culinary arts, and other skills.

His master's degree in directing and theatrical production from Brooklyn College builds upon a bachelor's in speech and communications and theatre arts from Dillard University in New Orleans. In 2007, he was a fellow in the Drama League Director's Project.

Richardson told TheaterJones, which first announced his hiring, that he hopes to grow Jubilee into a regional theater where students from historically black colleges and universities want to audition and work after college. Developing playwrights and emerging directors of color and collaborating with local and regional theaters are also high on his list.

"In five years, I want Jubilee to be the leader in new works that explore the African-American diaspora," he told TheaterJones. "African-American theater is American theater, told through a different lens."