Scallet named new producing artistic director

Rebekah Scallet | Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre

After a six-month search, Rebekah Scallet, an Arkansas native, will become producing artistic director of Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, starting Aug. 15.

Dr. Mary Ruth Marotte will continue as executive director.

“I am thrilled to have Rebekah as an artistic partner. Her experience in directing, teaching, and arts management will help AST reach new heights,” Marotte said.

Scallet holds an MFA in Directing from Illinois State University. Currently, she is directing “Twelfth Night” at Illinois Shakespeare Festival.

Scallet will be taking over the reins after the 2011 season, as founding Producing Artistic Director Matt Chiorini moves on after five seasons with AST.

“Though I’m proud of everything we’ve done and think that this will be our best season yet, I firmly believe that our best is yet to come,” Chiorini said. “We’ve come a long way in five years and I’m sad to leave, but I know that the festival is in good hands.

“I hate to miss what’s coming next and will be dropping off my resume with Rebekah soon.”

Scallet’s connections with Shakespeare in this state run deep and are personal.

Her family first became involved with the old Shakespeare Festival of Arkansas when her sister was cast in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as one of the fairies.

Her father Andy Scallet was so taken with the performance and the concept, that the following year he joined the SFA board, and over the next succeeding years he grew into a large leadership role, eventually becoming board president.

The first Shakespeare production Rebekah Scallet ever worked on — “Twelfth Night” — was also with Shakespeare Festival of Arkansas in 1998. She was the stage manager, and it was presented outdoors in MacArthur Park.

She has gone on to direct or assistant-direct three other productions of “Twelfth Night” since then, and it has remained one of her favorites.

Scallet will be introduced at the opening night of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” on Thursday.

Tickets are on sale now for AST’s 2011 season which runs through July 3. For more information about tickets, visit our tickets page or call the Reynolds Performance Hall box office at (501) 450-3265.

For more information, contact Marotte at (501) 428-4165 or mrmarotte@uca.edu.