Broad Stage names a new director: Rob Bailis of Cal Performances


The Broad Stage in Santa Monica will announce on Monday that it has hired a new artistic and executive director, Rob Bailis, who comes from Cal Performances at UC Berkeley.

Bailis, who succeeds Jane Deknatel, will begin in June.

As interim artistic director of Cal Performances, Bailis led the artistic programming team and commissioned projects, including the current five-year residency of the Joffrey Ballet. As the associate director of Cal Performances, he helped to curate the organization’s dance, theater and world stage programming.


From 2003 to 2011, Bailis was director of the San Francisco-based ODC Theater, where he helped to lead the organization’s $9-million expansion.

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After 20 years of arts leadership in the Bay Area, Bailis said he was ready for a creative change.

“I really think this will infuse my creative work with a new spirit of adventure,” he said.

He added that he sees the Broad Stage and Santa Monica College as “gateways to the future.”

“They’re equally places that individuals come to, to change their lives, to invest in themselves and in their human potential.”


Bailis said he was particularly inspired by the Broad Stage’s facilities — an intimate 500-seat theater and a 100-seat black box theater.

“There will be wonderful ways that my experience both in smaller venues, and in more international opera-house-size venues, find a perfect fit together in the context of the Broad,” he said. “That’s going to be a big change, but also kind of a delight for me.”

Bodytraffic dancer Guzman Rosado photographed at the Broad Stage in 2016.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Bailis will define the organization’s artistic vision, commission new works and oversee educational programming. He said it’s too soon to discuss specifics, but he does plan for artist residencies to become a core component of the organization’s plan. He is also interested in further developing the Broad Stage as a concept and exploring the venue’s potential.

“There can be quite a bit of flexibility to engage all different kinds of spaces for both for the purpose of creation and for the purpose of producing and presenting,” Bailis said. “I’m excited about all of the plazas. I’m excited about all the ways to intersect with the downtown — all of these things are possible.”

Now in its 11th season, the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage opened in 2008. The nonprofit is governed by a board of directors that includes members from Santa Monica College, the Broad Foundation and the L.A. community. On April 29, the organization will announce its 2019-2020 season.