Arts Desk

Colin Hovde Returns to Theater Alliance After Stint as Talent Agent

In today's Washington Post, Jane Horwitz reported that Theater Alliance, a small company in residence at the H Street Playhouse, has named Colin Hovde as its new artistic director.

Hovde, 31, previously worked for Theater Alliance as its associate artistic director, but more recently he's been working at the Capital Talent Agency with former Theater Alliance artistic director Jeremy Skidmore. Since his appointment was announced in a July 6 press release, Hovde has been transitioning out of his role at CTA while the former actor J. Fred Shiffman, who retired from performing earlier this year to join the agency, takes on more of the company's day-to-day workload.

Like CTA president Skidmore—who intends to leave the agency after completing his MBA from American University next year—Hovde never planned to remain a talent agent forever.

"I took that position knowing it wasn't longterm," Hovde says in a phone interview.

For much of the last decade, Theater Alliance was a small, but critically acclaimed part of D.C.'s ever-growing theater scene. But since Skidmore stepped down in 2007 and the brief return of its founding artistic director Paul Douglas Michnewicz, who left again last summer, the company has endured a period of near-dormancy.

"It wasn't due to Jeremy's leaving. A lot of funding dried up," Hovde says, noting that one of Theater Alliance's longtime backers, the Meyer Foundation, stopped writing grants to theater altogether. And since Michnewicz's second stint ended, "the board's been running things."

Hovde, who moved to Washington in 2005, made one of his first imprints on the D.C. theater landscape as one of the co-founders of the Capital Fringe Festival. He also founded Artists' Bloc, a professional development organization for theater professionals and other performing artists.

As an agent, Hovde says he found the work "really exciting."

"You're able to help people move their career forward," he said. "Being able to help them, push them, give them advice."

But to move Theater Alliance forward on its budget of $150,000 to $200,000, Hovde's first priority is to fill out its 2011-2012 season. Though he wouldn't name any titles, he said he's close to selecting two shows to be mounted in early 2012. For now, Theater Alliance will stage a series of readings this summer, followed in December by its annual production of Black Nativity, Langston Hughes' Afro-centric retelling of the Christmas story.

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