Salvage Vanguard Theater: Neulander ends his run

After 13 years of running Salvage Vanguard Theater, Artistic Director Jason Neulander is moving on

Salvage Vanguard Theater: Neulander ends his run
Photo by Celesta Danger

In the 13 years that Salvage Vanguard Theater has been rocking the local theatre scene, he's been the one constant. Whether the company was mounting shows in the Electric Lounge or Hogg Auditorium, whether it was staging edgy new dramas like Caridad Svich's Fugitive Pieces or retro sci-fi spoofs like The Intergalactic Nemesis, Jason Neulander was always at the helm, beating the drum for SVT.

That's about to change.

Last week, the Salvage Vanguard mainstay announced that he is ending his run as artistic director as of May 31, 2008. Neulander feels that he achieved his personal best with the company with the trio of The Death of a Cat, Genghis Khan, and Americamisfit in the 2004-2005 season and has had an increasingly tough time connecting with material in the seasons since. That's coincided with two of SVT's biggest projects ever – the national tour of The Intergalactic Nemesis and Salvage opening its own theatre – and another on the home front – he and wife Sarah André welcomed their second child into the world – which consumed pretty much all the energy he had left after 13 years of leading Salvage. Sensing burnout in the wind, he began crafting an exit strategy several months ago. The current plan calls for his job to be split into an executive director/artistic director team, with the board beginning a national search for the executive director in January and Associate Artistic Director Jenny Larson becoming interim artistic director.

Neulander feels that he's leaving SVT in a good place. The warehouse on Manor Road has been overhauled, and the 100-seat main stage, 50-seat performance/meeting area, and visual-arts gallery are up and running. The company is on solid footing with both personnel – program director Shannon McCormick, company manager Etta Sanders, and the aforementioned Jenny Larson – and finances. There's that enviable track record of new and contemporary work by the likes of David Bucci, Dan Dietz, Suzan-Lori Parks, Mac Wellman, C. Denby Swanson, Ruth Margraff, Svich, Graham Reynolds, Abi Basch, and more. And Nemesis has toured to more than a dozen cities across the country in the past year, with a half-dozen more bookings set for 2008 and an off-Broadway run looking good for late spring. Neulander sees the popular sci-fi series as the focus of his attention after next May. He won't be running SVT, but he won't be done with it.

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Jason Neulander, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Jenny Larson

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