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After a controversial parting of ways with its former artistic and executive director, Alberta Theatre Projects has chosen a new creative leader — and it’s a very familiar name. Haysam Kadri, the longtime artistic producer of The Shakespeare Company, has now assumed the title of ATP artistic director.
“As an artist growing up in Calgary, I have always strived to invest my energy here at home,” said Kadri. “Becoming artistic director for one of the country’s top contemporary theatre companies is an exciting challenge. I love ATP, and the opportunity to play this leadership role is a great honour.”
Kadri is a well-known figure in Calgary’s theatre scene, having played a number of characters for various theatres, including Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express, Sherlock Holmes, and Macbeth for Vertigo Theatre as well as Albert Einstein at the Grand Theatre. He is also a film actor, starring in The Revenant (2015), The Last of Us (2023) and Hell on Wheels (2011). He established and has led The Shakespeare Company for 11 years but is resigning effective June 30 to take on the ATP role.
“The entire board is incredibly pleased that Haysam has agreed to join us as artistic director,” said Vishal Saini, board chairman. “He is a proven and respected leader who knows ATP, and the broader theatre community, well. The board is unanimous in our support for Haysam and our optimism for the future of ATP with him in this critical role.”
Kadri, a theatre veteran, is also very familiar with ATP as he temporarily stepped in when former artistic director Darcy Evans died in November 2020. Kadri was appointed interim artistic director until Rohit Chokhani was chosen in an international search. Chokhani left in late 2022 after only a year in the position. No explanation was given for his departure beyond ATP’s statement that he was no longer with the organization and that “no further comment is available at this time.” Producer Marcie Januska and general manager Claudina Mongado had been guiding ATP since then.
With Kadri now in place, the board will begin a search for an executive director.
“On behalf of the board, I must extend our sincerest thanks to ATP staff, our dedicated volunteers, donors, subscribers, ticket holders, and everyone within the theatre community who continue to support us,” said Saini. “With Haysam as artistic director, we are excited about the future of ATP as we continue our mission to produce provocative and entertaining contemporary stories in Calgary.”
ATP recently concluded its 2022-2023 season with Teenage Dick, a co-production with The Shakespeare Company and Hit & Myth Productions. The 2023-2034 season will be announced in the coming weeks.
In his 11 seasons leading The Shakespeare Company, Kadri programmed over 35 productions, including partnerships most notably with Hit & Myth productions. He mounted shows such as William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead, The Hamlet Frequency, Hammered Hamlet, Goodnight Desdemona Good Morning Juliet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and Goblin Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, Julius Caesar, Richard III, Macbeth, and King Lear.
As outgoing artistic producer, Kadri will be programming the company’s 25th anniversary season before he transitions full-time to ATP.
The Board of The Shakespeare Company will name an interim replacement for Kadri shortly while the search for a permanent artistic producer gets underway.