After 12 years as the Huntington Theatre Company's artistic director, Peter DuBois has resigned.
"I believe that during a time when the theater is not producing, and during a time of truly hopeful cultural transformation, I am no longer the right person for the job," DuBois said in a statement to WBUR Wednesday night.
This announcement comes after staff members voiced concerns about him and the workplace environment. Staff provided feedback as part of a board investigation into DuBois after a complaint was made, according to theater spokesperson Temple Gill. The board has not shared details of these concerns.
In June when the Huntington was planning to lay off or furlough a majority of staff, a group called the Huntington Coalition, composed of representatives from each department, told management the plans “disproportionately affected the people of color in our organization.”
“Due to your staffing plan, we are frustrated, disappointed, and have lost trust in this organization,” the letter from the coalition read.
Over the summer, Gill said the Huntington created a task force of staff members at all levels called the Huntington Equity Anti-Racism (“HEAR") Task Force. They’ve spent time identifying issues at all levels of the organization and interviewing equity, diversity, inclusion and access consultants. The task force is preparing to announce who has been selected soon and are updating the theater's website with the group's work to be “as transparent and accountable as possible,” Gill said.
The Huntington's board did not provide further information about why DuBois resigned, but in statement Wednesday afternoon, thanked him for his service. The statement, from Board Chair David Epstein and Board President Sharon Malt, indicated that the board wants to evolve the role of artistic director before beginning a search for a replacement for DuBois.
“The Board of Trustees will be developing an updated description of the responsibilities required of our next artistic leader and will then begin the search for the next person to fulfill that role,” according to the emailed statement. “We are committed to listening to the voices within the Huntington family to ensure that we have the guidance needed as we conduct a formal search.”
The statement also spoke to the current climate as theaters around the nation navigate surviving during a global pandemic, while confronting challenges of racial and overall equity in the workplace.
“We are taking the time during this period where we are unable to produce theatre to reflect on how to improve our organization, open the lines of communication, including greater dialogue with our BIPOC staff and artists, and become a more equitable institution,” the statement read. “We have a lot work to do in this area, but it is a high priority for our organization.”
DuBois said his departure provides an opportunity to amplify the diverse voices and change the make-up of the company.
“It is my sincere hope that artists and producers of color will be strongly considered for my position,” he wrote in the statement. “I hope that by resigning I can create an opening, which allows the theater to continue on its journey of structural transformation.”
This article was originally published on October 14, 2020.