Arkansas Repertory Theatre announced today the resignation of producing artisticdirector Robert Hupp. Hupp is currently in his seventeenth season as the leader of Arkansas’ largest non-profit theatre company. Hupp’s resignation is effective with the conclusion of his current contract which expires at the end of June 2016. At that time, Hupp will assume his new position as artistic director of Syracuse Stage in Syracuse, New York.
“It’s been an honor to steward The Rep for these past seventeen years,” Hupp said. “I am especially grateful to the kind and generous patrons of central Arkansas who make creating theatre here fun and rewarding. Little Rock has been a tremendous place to raise a family, and a wonderful place to call home. I’ve been extremely lucky to work with such a dedicated Board of Directors and a multi-talented Rep staff. Arkansas Rep’s future is very bright, and I look forward to being a fan for years to come.”
During his tenure in Little Rock, Hupp has overseen continued growth and development at The Rep. Since he assumed the producing artistic director’s position in 1999, the theatre has tripled its budget (currently at $4 million annually), increased contributed income by 100%, completed a successful capital campaign, and broadened the company’s artistic and economic base through co-productions with other nonprofit theatres and partnerships with institutions of higher education and community organizations. Under Hupp’s leadership, the theatre and actor housing apartments underwent a complete renovation in 2011. The Rep also renovated a new downtown scenic construction facility and recently opened The Annex, a black box theatre and education space, in Main Street’s Creative Corridor.
Hupp’s artistic stewardship at The Rep has been marked by seasons that reflect the great diversity of the theatrical canon. Shakespeare and American classics join new and contemporary works, and seasons always include musicals or plays with music. The current season contains the regional theatre premiere of The Bridges of Madison County, a new adaptation of The Little Mermaid, as well as a new comedy, Windfall, directed by Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander. The theatre also recently produced a new musical, Because of Winn Dixie, by Duncan Sheik and Nell Benjamin. Hupp has directed 28 productions while at The Rep, including The Grapes of Wrath, God’s Man in Texas, Les Miserables, August: Osage County, and all of The Rep’s recent Shakespearean productions.
In addition to his duties at The Rep, Hupp has shown a strong commitment to serving the central Arkansas community. He has served on numerous civic committees in Little Rock, including Little Rock’s Arts and Culture Commission, the Advisory Board of the ACANSA Arts Festival, and Vision Little Rock. He has collaborated with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Wildwood Park for the Arts, and the Arkansas Arts Center. He is the 2013 recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award (Individual Artist) and the 2014 Argenta Community Theatre (ACT) Patron of the Year Award. In 2012, he was named “Nonprofit Executive of the Year” at the Arkansas Business of the Year Awards, and also received the Arkansas Public Relations Society of Arkansas (PRSA) Diamond Award. Hupp has also been a panelist and on-site evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts and has served in various capacities for the Theatre Communications Group, including a term as vice president of the Board of Directors. Hupp has taught and directed at several Arkansas colleges and universities, including Hendrix College, University of Central Arkansas, and University of Arkansas at Little Rock where he also served as the Interim Chair of the Department of Theatre in 2005.
The Rep Board of Directors expressed its gratitude to Hupp for his distinguished tenure.
“For nearly two decades, The Rep has been fortunate to have one of the country’s premier producing artistic directors at the helm,” Board President Catherine Hughes said. “While we celebrate Bob and wish him well in his new venture, we will sorely miss his energetic and intelligent leadership. He has played an integral part in the life of our community, and his departure will create a void which will be difficult to fill. On behalf of the Board and the community at large, I offer Bob our deepest gratitude for creating Broadway-quality theatre on our local stage.”
Hupp is only the second executive to lead The Rep in its 40-year history. Rep Founder Cliff Fanin Baker stepped down in 1999.
A search committee is being formed as The Rep’s Board of Directors launches an immediate national search for Hupp’s successor. Before departing, Hupp will plan The Rep’s 2016-17 Season.