Milwaukee Chamber Theatre Artistic Director Brent Hazelton joins me to talk about his career, moving into his new role - hot on the heels of the international pandemic - and how he is maneuvering within this new environment.
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A Whitewater native, Brent succeeded Michael Wright as MCT’s Artistic Director on July 1st, 2020. After graduating with a Bachelor of Special Studies Degree (Integrated Theater Studies), from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, he returned to Wisconsin for an Acting Internship at Milwaukee Repertory Theater. He would go on to serve at The Rep for twenty seasons, including the final ten as Associate Artistic Director, in which position he spearheaded the season planning process, collaborated on ongoing strategic planning and initiative development, and created cross-departmental pathways to program and support productions. From 2003 to 2010, he expanded The Rep’s Artistic Internship Program (now Emerging Professional Residency), into one of the premier professional transition programs in regional theater. From 2011 to 2019, he built and oversaw all aspects of the John (Jack) D. Lewis New Play Development Program including supervising the development of nearly two dozen new plays and served as production dramaturg for the world premieres of FIVE PRESIDENTS, AMERICAN SONG, and ONE HOUSE OVER, among others. His directing work set three all-time Rep sales records, and he is one of only three directors to have staged productions in all four of The Rep’s core performance spaces. At The Rep, he wrote and directed LIBERACE! (subsequently produced at two dozen theaters nationally), conceived the premiere and 2019 installments of REP LAB, directed SONG MAN DANCE MAN, HOW THE WORLD BEGAN, THE WHIPPING MAN, the final installment of the Hanreddy/Morgan A CHRISTMAS CAROL, MCGUIRE, OUR TOWN, and GUARDS AT THE TAJ, as well as numerous readings in collaboration with Ten Chimneys Foundation. Brent is also a former member of the adjunct faculties of Carthage College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and has taught development workshops at colleges, conservatories, and universities both locally and across the country. As an institutional leader, Brent is eager to explore how a regional theater can speak directly to the experience of its community and include everyone who chooses to call it home in that conversation.