TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s artistic director has had a whirlwind first year at the Tony Award-winning regional theater company. Here, Bond opens up about his love of the medium and reveals how pivoting has led him in a new and exciting direction.
When did you first become interested in theater? In the fourth grade I played the role of Marc Antony in an abridged production of Julius Caesar. I’ll never forget the electricity and elation I felt when I uttered the words ‘Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…’ and the audience actually leaned in. At that moment I realized the power of dramatic art to engage citizens and connect people from disparate backgrounds.
What led you to TheatreWorks, and what would you like to accomplish in the next months and years? I have been in leadership roles in American theater for more than three decades. In the three years before I joined TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, I was a tenured professor and head of the Professional Actor Training Program at University of Washington. I knew that I wanted to be back at a regional theater if the right one came along, and TWSV came along. In the long run, I am committed to the development of new plays and musicals, to diversifying our audiences and developing community partnerships throughout Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. I am also excited to expand our artistic collaborations nationally
How have you adapted to this new normal? We’ve offered online performances of the world premiere production of They Promised Her the Moon, and our holiday production of the musical Pride and Prejudice was released through Broadway On Demand and seen all over the world. We’ve also digitally released a number of readings of new works, and presented versions of poems by Beau Sia and Langston Hughes read by diverse Bay Area actors, and launched Voices of Democracy, an initiative focused on getting out the vote and promoting racial justice.
Tell us about your first virtual production, Simple Gifts. It’s an original piece we’re creating virtually—a musical celebration of the holidays that includes the stories and cultural traditions of diverse actors from the Bay Area. This joyful celebration explores Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Bodhi Day and Winter Solstice, as well as various Christmas traditions from around the world.
What’s next? We’ll be continuing our Voices Of Democracy and providing more interviews from our guest artists and the folks who make theater magic at TheatreWorks. We will continue to explore all options for alternative forms of presenting productions. It’s an exciting time, and every day we are learning new ways to create and share art with our community. theatreworks.org
Photography by: Photographed by Hillary Jeanne