Eric Ting and Caleb Hammons to Join Cynthia Flowers as Directors of Soho Rep
Director and Former Cal Shakes Artistic Director Ting and Tony- and Obie-Winning Creative Producer Hammons Succeed Sarah Benson and Meropi Peponides
Soho Rep today announced that Eric Ting (he/him) and Caleb Hammons (they/he) will join Cynthia Flowers (she/her) as the organization’s Directors. Together, they will continue a shared leadership model implemented by Flowers and outgoing directors Sarah Benson (she/her) and Meropi Peponides (she/her) in 2019. As a director, Ting has collaborated with some of the most influential artists in the American theater, and has spent 16 years in leadership positions at arts organizations—including, most recently, seven years as Artistic Director of Cal Shakes. Hammons brings their 16 years of creative producing experience—including a decade at the Fisher Center at Bard, where they serve as Director of Artistic Planning and Producing and produce 20+ projects of astonishing breadth per season—back to Soho Rep, having been a producer at the theater from 2011-13. Ting and Hammons assume their new positions in September 2023.
Over the course of 10 months, Arts Consulting Group (ACG) and a devoted search committee chaired by Soho Rep Board Chair Victoria Meakin (she/her) and playwright and board member Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (he/him) led a nationwide selection process, which also included board member and author James Gleick (he/him) and board member and former Soho Rep Project Number One artist Carmelita Tropicana (she/her).
Eric Ting’s track record of directing rigorous, adventurous, and evocative theater, his lucid vision for the future of Soho Rep and the future of the field, and his demonstrated commitment to anti-racist values were among the many strengths that led to his appointment.
Deemed “one of the Bay Area’s most revolutionary arts leaders,” by The San Francisco Chronicle, Ting is also deeply embedded within the New York theater world, having directed world premieres at Signature Theatre, Atlantic Theater Co, the Public’s Under the Radar Festival, Lincoln Center, MTC, and BAM. He directs The 1491s’ Between Two Knees in the inaugural season of PAC NYC in February 2024. In 2013, he earned the Obie Award for Direction for the world premiere of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud to Present… at Soho Rep.
Eric Ting says, “From the moment I witnessed Sarah Benson’s production of Blasted, I knew Soho Rep to be a forge for work of remarkable courage, driven by a spirit of innovation and collaborative discourse. It’s with that same spirit that Soho Rep has challenged our assumptions about how relationships with artists are sustained, and how arts organizations are held. I am humbled by the work of Sarah Benson and Meropi Peponides, which has so transformed our sense of what’s possible; and honored to be invited to join Caleb and Cynthia as co-leaders of this incredible artistic home. I can think of no better partners as we imagine new possibilities in this tumultuous moment. Soho Rep, not unlike the times we live in, dares us—artists and audiences alike—to leap into the discomforting spaces of the unknown, and towards revelation.”
Hammons’ decade-and-a-half of creative producing experience boasts projects of vastly varying scale and exhilarating stylistic range—from their time as the first Producing Director of Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company to their three years at Soho Rep to their tenure as Director of Artistic Planning and Producing at the Fisher Center at Bard. There, they were responsible for a $3 million programming budget.
In addition to valuing the breadth of his creative producing experience, the search committee was inspired by Hammons’ championing of a wide range of experimental and interdisciplinary theater makers, his vision for sustainable and humane producing practices including pay equity, and his deeply artist-centric approach to making work.
As Hammons returns to Soho Rep in a moment of significant struggle for nonprofit theater in America, he emphasizes the importance of “raising the value of imagination in American culture” from within an organization that, “above all, values imagination in every aspect of its operations.”
Caleb Hammons says, “Soho Rep has always been a place that embraces the unknown: a beacon of adventurous work, adaptable approaches, and aspirational ambition. The landscape is challenging, but ripe with opportunities to imagine how this forward-thinking, exemplary theater can continue to set the pace for a theater ecosystem that is daring, inclusive, innovative, and sustainable. Cynthia, Sarah, and Meropi’s championing of artists as thought leaders and of the organization as one with core civic responsibility has laid the groundwork for the field, and I’m humbled by the opportunity to build on their achievements. I couldn’t ask for better partners on this journey than Cynthia and Eric. I’m confident that what we dream up together will be of service to all those past, present, and future who find their way home to Soho Rep.”
Cynthia Flowers says, “I already miss Sarah and Meropi, with whom I shared a deep partnership for more than a decade. However, I’ve recently realized how lucky I am to have the chance to dive into a second incredible trio. Eric and Caleb are extraordinary thinkers whose extensive experience is equally matched by their humanity and artistic-centric approach. It was also a privilege to be able to meet and engage with the entire group of semi-finalists for each position. We met so many creative, passionate, and values driven artists, curators and producers. The search process left me inspired and optimistic about the future of Soho Rep and the entire field.”
Soho Rep Board Chair Victoria Meakin says of Eric Ting, “I can’t imagine a more ideal leader to take us to the next level as a cultural and civic force than Eric Ting. We are living through a critical inflection point not only for the field but for society as a whole. Eric’s belief in the power and potential for live performance to connect us all in open-minded, open-hearted interrogation inspires me and reminds me that theater can play a vital and joyful role in this moment of transformation.”
Playwright and Soho Rep Board Member Branden Jacobs-Jenkins says of Caleb Hammons, “Caleb’s run as a young producer and curator of downtown artists prior to his transformative tenure at Bard Fisher is the stuff of legend. In my opinion, Soho Rep is lucky to have lured him back into the fold at such an exciting point in its trajectory. It’s a dark time for the industry more broadly but this little theater now has, at its helm, three of the biggest lights in the field. I’m very, very hopeful about what’s ahead.”
Dámaso Rodriguez of ACG says, “ACG approached the search with Soho Rep with a deep appreciative inquiry for the organization, its people, and its needs. We extensively engaged and presented a rich diversity of candidates from the theater field, Broadway, and other creative industries, and collaborated with the search committee to ultimately select Eric Ting and Caleb Hammons as the new Directors. Eric and Caleb are both experienced, values-driven leaders whose expertise will richly complement the legacy and future of Soho Rep.”
Sarah Benson and Meropi Peponides depart Soho Rep after 15 and 8 years, respectively, with the influential Off Broadway theater. They leave having accomplished a long series of dramatic successes together, and having worked together closely to curate and produce the work at the theater—from first impulse through full production—with a strong focus on holistic design. (This includes the upcoming 2023-2024 season, with productions from artists who have developed work in Soho Rep’s supportive and generative programs—Becca Blackwell, Shayok Misha Chowdhury, and Raja Feather Kelly). With Cynthia Flowers, Peponides and Benson worked together to further pay equity and anti-oppressive values at Soho Rep. Emblematic of these efforts is Soho Rep Project Number One, which brings artists into the organization as salaried staff members to help envision a more sustainable and equitable theater.
Meropi Peponides says, “Eric is an incredible artist whose work I’ve admired for years, and his artistry as a director is equally matched by his conviction for ethical, principled leadership. I am delighted he will be joining the Soho Rep team and cannot wait to see the ways he builds and expands upon the community of artists who are sharing in inquiry at Soho Rep. Caleb is a visionary artistic producer who has championed some of the most compelling work in NYC and beyond in the past dozen years. His appointment marks a joyous return to Soho Rep and I could not be more excited to pass the baton (back!) to him to guide this incredible organization and its community of artists and stakeholders into its next chapter.”
Sarah Benson says, “Eric Ting is simply phenomenal–a brilliant artist and deep thinker. I had the distinct honor of working with him on Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play We Are Proud to Present…. At Soho Rep and was blown away every step of the way by his bold vision and care for everyone in the room that resulted in one of the most thrilling experiences at the theater. I cannot wait to see the work he generates in leadership at Soho Rep! Caleb Hammons is an off-the-hook sensational creative producer. He sees producing as a true art form and that shows up in every corner of his producing practice. He is deeply rigorous, curious and a joyful collaborator for artists. Caleb returns to Soho Rep with deep and wide-ranging experience and it is truly a thrill that he is coming back! I cannot wait to see what Caleb and Eric imagine in partnership with the all-incredible Cynthia Flowers. I know they are going to imagine into existence so much more than we ever knew was possible.”
Founded in 1975 and based at 46 Walker Street since 1991, Soho Rep has continually evolved for nearly 50 years, through leadership transitions that have catalyzed transformation and growth at the organization. It was originally a repertory company of actors and directors making new productions of mostly classic plays. Over time, Soho Rep has opted to focus on boldly experimental new works, most of which are world premieres and commissioned by Soho Rep. To name a few from the last decade: Shayok Misha Chowdhury’s Public Obscenities, Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon, César Alvarez’s Futurity, and Lucas Hnath’s A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney.
About Eric Ting
Born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, to immigrant parents, Eric Ting is a theater and opera director whose work reflects a life-long investigation of the other, living at the intersection of theater and community practice.
He is a graduate of West Virginia University and the International Actor Training Academy at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Additionally, he has studied puppetry, Lecoq, and Balinese topeng with I Made Djimat.
From 2006 to 2015, Ting served as Associate Artistic Director of Long Wharf Theater; and from 2015 to 2022, as Artistic Director of California Shakespeare Theater. During that time, Ting pursued a vision of theater in expanded discourse with new communities, innovating pathways towards collective, transformative engagements.
Throughout his directing career, Ting has remained deeply committed to the development of new and diverse voices for the theater. Mr. Ting received an Obie for his direction of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud to Present a Presentation… (Soho Rep). Other world premieres include Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ The Comeuppance (Signature Theater); Lloyd Suh’s The Far Country (Atlantic Theater Co); Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: The Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon (seen by tens of thousands across more than 20 cities nationally and around the world including The Arts Center NYU Abu Dhabi, UNC Chapel Hill, Under the Radar Festival, Holland Festival, and most recently, Lincoln Center); The 1491s’ Between Two Knees (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, making its New York City debut at PAC NYC this winter); Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s World of Extreme Happiness (MTC and the Goodman); and Nora Chipaumire’s Miriam (Brooklyn Academy of Music).
Additional world, east- and west-coast premieres include: Long Wharf Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival, Victory Gardens, Alliance Theater, Children’s Theater Company, Denver Center, Seattle Rep, ACT, Berkeley Rep, CTG and Singapore Repertory Theatre.
He is a multiple-grant recipient, including a TCG New Generations Future Leaders fellowship, a Jerome & Roslyn Milstein Meyer Career Development Prize, a NEFA National Theater Project grantee, a MAP Fund Awardee; and in 2019, he was named one of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ YBCA100.
He has served on numerous grant and fellowship panels including the Mellon Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, the Jerome and McKnight Foundations, the NEA, TCG, PONY and the Alpert Awards. Ting served two terms on the SDC Board, and is on the Directing Faculty of the David Geffen School of Drama.
Eric Ting was born in North Dakota but raised in West Virginia by two immigrant parents who fed him a steady diet of Appalachian folk art and Chinese historical melodrama. They taught him to observe the world with wonder and without judgment.
He loves to fly kites with his daughter.
About Caleb Hammons
Caleb Hammons (they/he) is a Tony and Obie Award-winning creative producer and curator of performance working between NYC and the Hudson Valley. Their multifaceted experience as a connector and advocate for contemporary ideas and practices in the performing arts has allowed them to forge a proven track record of activating unique collaborations, programs, spaces, and support across disciplines and communities. They were the Director of Artistic Planning and Producing at the Fisher Center at Bard, which they joined in 2013. At the Fisher Center, Hammons facilitated Fisher Center LAB, a professional commissioning, residency, and producing initiative focusing on contemporary practices in the performing arts, produced an extensive portfolio of dance, theater, live music, and transdisciplinary performance projects, and curated the Bard SummerScape Spiegeltent.
Over the past decade, Hammons has led the development of new works from Justin Peck, Sufjan Stevens, and Jackie Sibblies Drury (Illinois), Daniel Fish (Oklahoma!, 2019 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival), Pam Tanowitz (Four Quartets and Song of Songs), Justin Vivian Bond, Meshell Ndegeocello, Tania El Khoury, Sarah Michelson, Ralph Lemon, Annie Dorsen, Will Rawls, Tere O’Connor, John Jasperse, Claudia Rankine, Michelle Ellsworth, Miguel Gutierrez, Jack Ferver, Beth Gill, Geoff Sobelle, and many others.
Prior to Caleb’s time at Bard he was the Producer at Soho Rep in NYC for two seasons (2011-2013), developing and producing new works from Annie Baker, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Lucas Hnath, and Jackie Sibblies Drury. He became the first Producing Director of Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company in 2008 and led the company through 2011, during which time they oversaw the development and world premieres of three new works by Young Jean Lee (THE SHIPMENT, LEAR, and the Obie Award-winning WE’RE GONNA DIE) as well as tours of the Company’s work to 30 cities around the world.
They are the Co-Instigator of the acclaimed Brooklyn-based performance series CATCH (lauded with a 2015 Obie Award and hailed by the Village Voice as NYC’s “best ambulatory feast of experimental performance”) and co-curated the CUNY/Martin E. Segal Theater Center’s PRELUDE Festival in 2012 and 2013.
From 2007 until its implosion in 2012, Caleb served in various capacities for the playwright’s collective 13P, including serving as co-editor of 13P: The Complete Plays. Other independent curatorial projects include the 2018 edition of BAM’s pride party, Everybooty, and projects for Danspace Project and Elastic City. He has been a guest speaker at the Yale School of Drama, Sarah Lawrence College, the City of Chicago Architecture Biennial, Creative Capital, NYU/Tisch School of the Arts, and Carnegie Mellon University School of the Arts, and taught a course in creative producing at Bard. They served three seasons as a member of the selection committee for the New York Dance and Performance Awards (“The Bessies”), have sat on multiple national grant and award panels, and have independently advised on the works of queer artists BALLEZ (Katy Pyle) and Erin Markey. Caleb holds a BFA from the NYU/Tisch Experimental Theatre Wing and was a member of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance’s inaugural class at Wesleyan University.
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, Arts Consulting Group (ACG) is the leading provider of hands-on interim management, executive search, revenue enhancement, strategic planning & community engagement, facilities & program planning, and other capacity building services for the arts and culture industry. Founded in 1997, ACG is a full-service firm that effectively works with a wide range of nonprofit organizations, universities, government agencies, and for-profit entities that operate in the creative industries. The firm takes a contemporary approach to client challenges and opportunities focused on growing institutions, advancing arts and culture, and enhancing communities. ACG senior team members have leadership experience in every type of artistic and cultural discipline, and they seamlessly adapt to clients’ rapidly changing strategies, business models, and operating environments.
The firm currently has locations in Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Raleigh, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, DC. ACG employees and consultants are embedded in communities throughout North America to invigorate clients so that they can achieve the delicate balance between cultural impacts and business sustainability.
About Soho Rep
Soho Rep provides radical theater makers with productions of the highest caliber and tailor-made development at key junctures in their artistic practice. The organization elevates artists as thought leaders and citizens who change the field and society. Artistic autonomy is paramount at Soho Rep; the organization encourages an unmediated connection between artists and audiences to create a springboard for transformation and rich civic life beyond the walls of its theater.
Critics continue to herald Soho Rep as a go-to theater destination for new and original works. New York Magazine says, “this indispensable theater offers more excitement per chair than any space in town,” Time Out New York says, “Soho Rep is the best theater in NYC,” and The New York Times describes Soho Rep as “form-twisting, boundary-breaking, and acclaimed” and says, “The downtown powerhouse… regularly outclasses the work done on many of the city’s larger stages.” The Village Voice named Soho Rep the “Best Off-Broadway Theater Company,” and the company was listed in Travel Magazine’s “10 Essential Off-Broadway Theaters.”
Soho Rep won the “Best Theater in NYC” award for the Time Out Best of the City Awards 2021. Time Out New York wrote, “Soho Rep isn’t the last word in downtown experimental theater: Better than that, it’s often one of the first words, championing major voices at key points in their careers…And Soho Rep’s low ticket prices, including 99¢ Sundays, help keep some of the city’s bravest, boldest and wildest theater within the reach of all New Yorkers. ”
Soho Rep has also been honored with a Drama Desk Award for Sustained Achievement. Over the last decade, Soho Rep productions have garnered 21 OBIE Awards; the 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical; 18 Drama Desk nominations; two Kesselring Awards; The New York Times Outstanding Playwriting Award for Dan LeFranc’s Sixty Miles To Silverlake; and a special citation in The New York Drama Critics’ Circle’s 2012-13 awards. Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview, commissioned by Soho Rep and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In recent years, Soho Rep has presented plays by established and emerging theater artists such as David Adjmi, Annie Baker, Alice Birch, debbie tucker green, Aleshea Harris, Lucas Hnath, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Daniel Alexander Jones, Richard Maxwell, Sarah Kane, Young Jean Lee, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, and Anne Washburn.