Theater Feature: AHMED BEST ANNOUNCED AS ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR (Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles)

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by Tony Frankel on September 20, 2020

in Theater-Los Angeles


Los Angeles-based Echo Theater Company, dedicated to creating new work for the theater, has named Ahmed Best (best known as Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith) as Associate Artistic Director. Echo is hands-down the most continuously innovative theater company in L.A. One of my favorites nationwide, really. As the Echo’s Associate Artistic Director, actor, writer director, teacher, producer and musician 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.

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. He is 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’s productions of Backyard and Blueberry Toast.

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. Some of my favorites: The West Coast premieres of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Pulitzer Prize finalist play Gloria and Molly Smith Metzler’s Cry It Out, and Tommy Smith’s Firemen, I agree with my colleague, Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty: “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”

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