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Desai steps aside at ICT in Long Beach

January 14, 2011
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From the release: LONG BEACH, CA – January 14, 2011 – Founding artistic director Shashin Desaihas announced to the International City Theatre board of directors that he will step aside as of March 15. ICT general manager caryn desai [sic], who is also Desai’s wife, has been unanimously approved by the board to take the reins of the 25-year old organization.

“This is not a retirement,” explains Desai, who founded ICT in 1985. “I have always felt that an organization needs to be about more than the vision of just one individual. I am stepping aside so that ICT has the chance to grow and become stronger under a new generation of leadership.”

Under Desai’s guidance, International City Theatre has grown from a 99-seat, black box theater on the campus of Long Beach City College to become Long Beach’s Resident Professional Theater Company at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. From the beginning, ICT has attracted critical acclaim and multiple awards including the Los Angeles Drama Circle’s prestigious Margaret Harford Award for “Sustained Excellence in Theater.” In December, ICT concluded its 25th Anniversary Season with a balanced budget despite the weakened economy.

“It has been a wonderful journey,” wrote Desai in his letter to the board. “I am extremely proud that we have completed our 25h Anniversary Season with a balanced budget. This is also the time for me to pack up my bags of wonderful memories and step aside to give way to new ideas, new enthusiasm, new vision, new and better talent to take this extraordinary theater to new heights.”

caryn desai says, “This transition is at once difficult and exciting for me. Shashin and I have always been partners, and together we have lived and breathed ICT, both at work and at home. He has built ICT into what it is today. My challenge will be to continue that legacy.”

caryn desai has served as ICT’s general manager since 1990. She has a diverse background, with experience in business as well as in the arts. A multiple award-winning director whose credits include classics, new works, musicals, and original performance pieces, she most recently directed ICT’s acclaimed productions of The Clean House and Backwards in High Heels, and is currently directing Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein, set to open ICT’s 26th season on January 21. In addition to an MFA from UC Irvine, caryn holds Certificates in both Arts Administration and in Marketing and Fundraising from California State University Long Beach, and a Certificate in Acting from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She was selected by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for the inaugural Arts Leadership Initiative program, received a full fellowship to the Stanford University School of Business Executive Program (one of 50 arts administrators in the U.S. selected for the inaugural program), and participated in Executive Coaching Training at the Hudson Institute in Santa Barbara. She has been a member of the acting faculty at Long Beach City College for 20 years, is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and a member of the Board of Governors for the L.A. Stage Alliance.

ICT’s 26th Season opens on January 21 with the West Coast premiere of Stephen Flaherty and Frank Galati’s chamber musical,Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein. Slated for the remainder of the season are Southern Comforts by Kathleen Clark, The Old Settler by John Henry Redwood, Private Lives by Noël Coward, and The Robber Bridegroom by Alfred Uhry and Robert Waldman.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 14, 2011 4:28 pm

    Mazel tov, Shashin! A true artist and gentleman. May you continue to break those wonderful legs.

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