Org reaches $6.6 million capital campaign goal

BETHESDA, Md. — Blake Robison, head of the theater department at the U. of Tennessee, Knoxville, and producing artistic director at the Clarence Brown Theater Company there, will join the Round House Theater here in June as producing artistic director. He succeeds Jerry B. Whiddon, who ankles at the end of the season after 20 years running the theater.

Robison, 38, was selected after a seven-month national search that considered more than 100 candidates. He has been artistic honcho at Clarence Brown, a LORT D company in residence at UT Knoxville, since 2000.

Outgoing chief Whiddon praised Robison’s breadth of experience as well as his appreciation of Round House Theater’s history and mission.

Whiddon was a key player in the theater’s privatization from Montgomery County in 1993, and in its transformation to an Equity house. His departure will coincide with the achievement of the org’s $6.6 million capital campaign goal.

With theaters in Bethesda and Silver Spring, the Round House is one of the area’s more vibrant theater operations. It has won the Helen Hayes Award for resident play in three of the past four seasons.

Its current season includes March’s world premiere of “Columbinus,” a play about the 1999 Littleton, Colo., school shooting, developed with the United States Theater Project.

Robison plans to inaugurate a literary works initiative for the Bethesda facility next fall to include new adaptations of classic stories for modern audiences and the commissioning of new works based on contempo literature. At the Silver Spring house, he says he will program international works and edgier new plays.

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