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Theatre Producer Ronee Penoi to Direct ArtsEmerson’s Artistic Programming

Ronee Penoi has been named ArtsEmerson’s director of artistic programming. Photo/Amber Wilkie

Ronee Penoi, a well-respected leader and producer in American theatre and a frequent collaborator with ArtsEmerson, has been named director of artistic programming of the organization.

Penoi (Laguna Pueblo/Cherokee) will begin her work with ArtsEmerson on August 2.

“After an extensive search process that attracted national and international candidates, I am excited to welcome Ronee Penoi to ArtsEmerson, to Emerson College, and to the City of Boston,” says David C. Howse, ArtsEmerson’s executive director.

“Her track record of centering artists, her artistic curiosity, and her commitment to racial justice and climate justice are just a few ways that she exemplifies our shared values here at ArtsEmerson. I am energized by the idea of what will come of Ronee’s collaboration with the team and our community!”

As director of artistic programming, Penoi will oversee the strategies, programs, activities, and outcomes of ArtsEmerson’s work in artistic and civic engagement, as well as lead the Artistic Engagement and Guest Experience teams in their ongoing effort to build collaborations, relationships, and opportunities.

ArtsEmerson has collaborated with Penoi for years through her most recent role as producer at Octopus Theatricals, which worked with ArtsEmerson to bring many boundary-pushing artists to Boston audiences. In her previous position, Penoi advanced the work of Cherokee artist DeLanna Studi (And So We Walked), Phantom Limb Company (Falling Out), Ripe Time (Sleep), Homer’s Coat (An Iliad by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson), Theatre for One, and more.

She is a two-time International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA) Global Fellow, and has been an Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) Leadership Fellow and Theatre Communications Group (TCG) Rising Leader of Color. Penoi is a founding member of The Industry Standard Group (TISG), a commercial investment and producing organization with a focus on increasing the presence of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) investors and producers in the commercial producing field.

Penoi’s artistic practice and advocacy draws from her Indigenous background. Her father was enrolled with both the Cherokee Nation and Pueblo of Laguna (her mother is white). Her great-grandfather, Mark Penoi, attended Carlisle Indian School, and Penoi is passionate about sharing how the legacy of that traumatic boarding school experience has shaped her and other descendants’ lives.

“ArtsEmerson is known internationally for its ambitious artistic work, culture of care, and integrity,” Penoi said. “I couldn’t be more excited to work with David Howse and the incomparable ArtsEmerson staff to continue this work while pressing ahead to address the next set of challenges – How does our arts practice and impact re-story our past and decolonize our future? I’m indebted to Rob Orchard and David Dower’s extraordinary artistic leadership that has paved the way.”

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