“This is my dream job,” says Atlanta theater artist Jon Carr. “Dad’s was started by young artists who wanted to create and be in work they were excited about and weren’t seeing elsewhere. That stands true to this day, almost 25 years later. As an artist, I’ve come to realize how vital Dad’s is to the city, and I’m eager to bring the same opportunities Dad’s gave to me to all our current and future generations of talent.”
Carr, 40, has been leading Dad’s Garage Theatre Company as interim artistic director since November. Today (January 29), the board named him the sixth artistic director in company history. He drops the “interim” label Monday (February 1.)
Carr succeeds Kevin Gillese, who spent 10 years as artistic director and remains part of the company’s artistic team. The theater began looking nationally for a new artistic director in August. “We had so many impressive candidates,” board chair Derin Dickerson said in a statement, “and when we looked at where the organization is, and where we want to head, it became clear that Jon possesses all the skills.”
The decision was supposed to come sometime in February. Apparently, Dad’s board felt it had found their man.
Dad’s, which has its own 90-seat theater on Ezzard Street in the Old Fourth Ward, uses a co-CEO model. The artistic director is in charge of its creative direction; managing director Lara Smith, who’s been on the job for 10 years, handles business operations. It has a budget of about $2 million, a full-time staff of nine and does a mix of improv and scripted shows, operating 52 weeks a year.
Before becoming interim artistic director, Carr worked in the marketing and artistic offices at the Alliance Theatre. He’d previously spent four years as Dad’s marketing director and has been part of the performing ensemble since 2014. The company recently opened one of Carr’s pet projects, Scandal! Felt Street, part of the ongoing improvised soap opera titled Scandal, but this time with puppets. It runs through March 21.
“I make jokes,” Carr says on his Facebook profile. “I love my job, friends and life. What more can you ask for?”