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Mark Murphy to depart from REDCAT, leaving DTLA theater in search of a new director

Mark Murphy to depart from REDCAT, leaving DTLA theater in search of a new director
Mark Murphy, executive director of REDCAT, photographed in 2001 as the theater was under construction. He will leave his post at the end of the current season. (Los Angeles Times)

Mark Murphy will step down as executive director of REDCAT at the end of the season, the organization said Tuesday, leaving a key vacancy at one of downtown L.A.’s primary homes for boundary-pushing music, theater and dance.

Murphy is the founding executive director of the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater, the California Institute of the Arts’ performance space that opened at Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003.

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REDCAT has hosted some of Los Angeles Opera’s experimental “Off Grand” productions, hosting well-received performances of Ellen Reid’s “prism,” Keeril Makan’s “Persona,” the Chelsea Manning-WikiLeaks opera “The Source,” and the premiere of David Lang’s “anatomy theater,” which Times critic Mark Swed called a “complete triumph.”

New York-based the Wooster Group regularly tours its productions there, most recently “The B-Side: ‘Negro Folklore From Texas State Prisons,’ A Record Album Interpretation.” But a big draw for REDCAT has long been the international avant garde, a roster that skips from Brazil (theater artist Christiane Jatahy) to the Democratic Republic of Congo (choreographer Faustin Linyekula) to Japan (Takao Kawaguchi, who paid homage to Butoh founder Kazuo Ohno) to Chile (multimedia theater innovator Teatrocinema).

Murphy plans to “focus his attention on initiating new creative programs and productions in a variety of U.S. and international cities,” REDCAT said. He will help to plan the next season as well as the summer New Original Works Festival. The theater’s associate director, Edgar Miramontes, will become the interim leader while an executive search firm looks for Murphy’s replacement.

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