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Echo Theater Company names
Ahmed Best as Associate Artistic Director
LOS ANGELES (July 21, 2020) — Los Angeles-based Echo Theater Company, dedicated to creating new work for the theater, has named Ahmed Best as Associate Artistic Director.
Best has been an Echo Theater Company member for over 10 years, where, in addition to his responsibilities as an actor, director and fight choreographer, he serves as director of the Directors LAB, which he helped found.
A gifted actor, writer director, teacher, producer and musician, Best is an adjunct lecturer at the USC School Of Dramatic Arts and a senior fellow at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. As an actor, he starred in the Broadway musical Stomp, then went on to be the first CGI lead character in a motion picture, starring as Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. He currently hosts both STAR WARS Jedi Temple Challenge and the Afrofuturist podcast. Best is CEO of BISN Media, and is executive producer of Dinner at LOLA (Stop That Bangin Productions/BISN Media) and The DL Chronicles (recipient of the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Television Movie or Mini-Series). He is the creator, writer and director of two web series: This Can’t Be My Life, and the sci-fi comedy The Nebula. Best is also known as a martial artist and fight choreographer, for which he is the recipient of multiple Ovation, Stage Raw, TicketHolder LA and Scenie awards, including for Echo productions of Backyard and Blueberry Toast.
As the Echo’s Associate Artistic Director, Best will be involved in all decision making regarding season production selections; hiring of artists such as playwrights, actors, guest directors, designers and composers; and decision making in all areas of operation, including initiatives, marketing, development and community events. He will chair artistic staff meetings, as well as oversee and manage both the literary department and the Echo Playwrights LAB, while retaining his position as director of the Directors LAB. Best will personally direct at least one production per season.
Founded in 1997 and dedicated to producing new work, the Echo Theater Company has gained a reputation for bringing the hottest new plays and playwrights to Los Angeles. Echo’s 2019 production of The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe was named “Best of 2019” by .both the Los Angeles Times and radio station KCRW, and was the recipient of two Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle awards; the world premiere of Handjob by Erik Patterson made the “Highlights of 2019” list at LA Observed. The 2018 season saw West Coast premieres of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Pulitzer Prize finalist play Gloria, named to the Los Angeles Times’ “Best of 2018” list, and Molly Smith Metzler’s Cry It Out, winner of both Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Circle and Ovation “Best Production” and “Playwriting” awards, and listed on KCRW’s “Best of 2018” list. In addition, the Echo was honored with the LADCC award for “Best 2018 Season.” The company was anointed “Best Bet for Ballsy Original Plays” by the LA Weekly in its 2014 Best of L.A. issue and was a recipient of a 2016 “Kilroy Cake Drop”— one of only 13 theaters in the country to be surprised by cakes to honor the efforts they are making to produce women and trans writers. In the Los Angeles Times, theater critic Charles McNulty wrote, “Echo Theater Company, which has cultivated a community of top flight actors, would be my go-to place in Los Angeles for symbiotic ensemble acting… Artistic directors of theaters of all sizes would be wise to follow the [lead] of the Echo’s Chris Fields, who [is] building audience communities eager for the challenge of path-breaking plays.” KCRW’s Anthony Byrnes stated, “Echo Theater Company is on a fierce journey. They’re choosing plays that are consistently challenging and all have a deep conscience… The body of work that Echo is building is substantial. If you wanted to pick one small theater to add to your cultural roster — Echo is a consistent favorite.”
For more information about the Echo Theater Company, visit www.echotheatercompany.com.