South Coast Repertory names David Ivers artistic director

South Coast Repertory has appointed theater veteran David Ivers artistic director.

Ivers joins Managing Director Paula Tomei as co-chief executive officer.

He said he is responsible for “curating the season and everything that goes into it.”

Ivers is currently the artistic director of Arizona Theatre Company, which operates in both Tucson and Phoenix.

He is serving in an advisory role for SCR until he takes on the position full-time in the spring.

Prior to Arizona Theatre Company, Ivers worked for six years as the artistic director at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, where he built a career as an actor and director. The festival takes place at Southern Utah University Cedar City.

Aside from being a father to two boys, Ivers said his biggest accomplishment is helping to build a $40 million expansion to the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The additions included two new theaters, a rehearsal hall, a costume shop and administrative offices.

Ivers has also held teaching positions at the University of Michigan; University of Minnesota, where he earned a master’s of fine arts; and Southern Utah University and Southern Oregon University, his alma mater for undergraduate education.

“Among the pool of distinguished and diverse candidates, David immediately stood out,” said Samuel Tang, president of the Costa Mesa-based repertory’s board of trustees and chair of the search committee. “He’s a dynamic visionary — one who will lead us into the future. We sought someone who could build on SCR’s foundation of stellar theater artistry and strong financial position. His commitment to the classics, contemporary works and new plays align perfectly with SCR’s mission.”

In his new role, Ivers said his goal is to continue elevating the theater company and promoting community engagement. This includes adding pre- and post-show discourse to “enhance the experience of the main event.”

He said he would also like to “catapult” the work of both new and mid-career playwrights. Through its NewSCRipts series, the repertory gives playwrights the opportunity to hear their developing works read aloud and receive feedback.

Ivers expressed excitement at the prospect of returning to California, having grown up in the San Fernando Valley.

He said his first priority is becoming attuned to his new home and making sure the work presented mirrors the community it serves.

“For the theater to be vital, people need to see themselves onstage,” he said.

Tomei’s looking forward to collaborating with Ivers.

“I’m delighted that David will be joining SCR,” Tomei said. “He is both passionate and discerning when it comes to the art onstage and is committed to extending our work in the community. His positive energy, keen sense of humor and joyful spirit are infectious, and I look forward with excitement to our partnership.”

The repertory includes three venues: the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio. The company’s 2018-19 season includes 13 productions; three evening readings; the Pacific Playwrights Festival, a three-day showcase of new works; and three productions from the conservatory.