Orchard to exit American Repertory

Exec director will step down at end of season

Robert J. Orchard, executive director of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., since it was founded in 1970, will step down at the end of the company’s 2008-09 season.

The ART vet will stay on as special adviser to help incoming artistic director Diane Paulus launch her inaugural season and provide support during the leadership transition.

“Thanks to the quality of the board, staff, Diane’s vision, and Harvard’s increased commitment and interest in all the arts, the ART’s future is in excellent hands,” Orchard said in a statement.

ART’s new season gets under way in August with a revival of Paulus’ long-running Off Broadway hit, “The Donkey Show.” Also on the lineup are “Sleep No More,” a co-production with Brit company Punchdrunk; and R&B/gospel musical “Best of Both Worlds.”

Paulus received a Tony nomination this year for direction of a musical for the Broadway revival of “Hair.”

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