A story about the New Playwrights' Theatre in Saturday's Style section referred to Harry Bagdasian as founder and artistic director of the theater for its 11-year existence. From 1975 to 1978, Paul Hildebrand Jr. was artistic director and Bagdasian was producing director.
Harry Bagdasian, the founder of the New Playwrights' Theatre and its artistic director for its entire 11-year existence, will resign his position at the end of the 1983-84 season.
Bagdasian made the announcement Thursday night to NPT's board of trustees, which will form a search committee and begin looking immediately for a replacement to head up the 125-seat theater at 1734 Church St. NW.
"I realized that if I was going to stay on here, I'd have to stay another five years to take NPT to the next level of development, and I don't want to stay that long," Bagdasian explained yesterday. "I want to flex my muscles, do some independent producing and get back to my own writing, which I haven't really touched since the first season of NPT."
Bagdasian, 34, said his resignation in no way signaled a change of direction for NPT, which is dedicated to the development of new American playwrights, and he intends to remain on the board of trustees for four years after his departure.
The NPT board is expected to begin interviewing candidates for artistic director in July and plans to name Bagdasian's successor no later than Sept. 30. Before taking over the reins, the new appointee would work with Bagdasian as an "artistic associate" during the 1983-84 season, which begins Oct. 4 with Ralph Pape's "Beyond Your Control."
Bagdasian, who founded NPT in 1972 in the basement of a townhouse on 20th Street, will have produced 65 shows and more than 200 staged readings by the time he steps down from his post. Under his leadership, the theater's budget has grown from nothing to $355,000. It currently has 921 subscribers, 450 who have already renewed for the upcoming season.
A year ago, saddled with mounting debts, NPT faced virtual extinction. However, Bagdasian and his staff succeeded in raising $86,000 in a crash fund drive and were able to cut its accumulated deficit in half. Although NPT is still "hurting," according to managing director Todd Bethel, "the organization is in a much stronger position than it was a year ago."
Among his future projects, Bagdasian is considering producing a commercial production of "Nightmare," in San Francisco in the fall of 1984. The Tim Grundmann musical was a considerable success at NPT on two separate occasions.
"I would like to believe that this theater has become an institution that can survive without me," Bagdasian said. "But I like the idea of leaving after 12 seasons--an even dozen."