After a nationwide search, Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis has named Mark Valdez as only its second artistic director in 46 years. Valdez takes over from Jack Reuler, who founded the company in 1976 with the aim of fulfilling the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Valdez has directed nine plays at the theater and twice served as its resident artist over the past 15 years. He said Mixed Blood aligns with the things that are important to him, such as “using art to benefit our communities, to think about how we might influence policies that help people to get community conversations going, to just really be a place that that is for everybody."
A nationally known director, Valdez has been working across the country as associate director of Cornerstone Theater Company. He also served as executive director of the Network of Ensemble Theatres for seven years, growing it from 50 to 400 members.
Reuler cheered the arrival of his successor in a statement announcing Valdez’s appointment.
“Mark has been a resident artist, guest director, playwright, organizer, advisor, confidant, and friend to Mixed Blood and me since 2006,” said Reuler. “I can’t wait to see how this progressive organization will evolve under his leadership.”
Valdez said, under Ruler's leadership, Mixed Blood has created a model for theater promoting justice, equity and diversity.
"It would it would make Jack very sad if I or anybody else who's coming in tried to emulate him and and fill those shoes,” he said. “I think what would the best thing we can do is to say thank you and build on what he did."
Valdez said his first priorities are to learn more about the community and to work out how Mixed Blood can reemerge from the pandemic. Valdez will begin his new position fulltime on June 6.
Reuler will step down the following month so that, as mentioned in the release, “his tenure spans 2-2-76 to 7-6-22.”
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