After 28 years, Barclay Goldsmith is stepping down as the producing director of Borderlands Theatre, the company with a uniquely Tucson identity which he helped create and which he has helped shepherd through the ups and downs of a not-for-profit theater.
But he wants to be clear. He may be taking a bow for the role of producing director, but says, "I will remain connected in one way or another. I will not leave working with the company."
In fact, he is directing the first show of Borderlands' new season, "They Call Me a Hero." Typical of the fare that Borderlands is committed to producing, it is an original play penned by Guillermo Reyes, a theater instructor at Arizona State University. It is based on the memoir by Daniel Hernandez, the young man many considered so instrumental in saving former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' life in the horrendous shootings here in January 2011.
Goldsmith says that this play fits squarely with Borderlands' stated mission, which includes "championing the development and production of new plays ... whose work resonates with the diversity of our audiences."
Goldsmith says that mission statement has been "somewhat amplified, to include voices about borders not necessarily only from this region, and plays written by non-border writers that metaphorically deal with borders, or even sometimes borders within the same community. Actually, 'metaphorical' is a dangerous word to use because it tends to be so unspecific. Generally, we do work about issues and differences that separate people. Our work reflects the diverse voices of the U.S. border, with a focus on the Latino, Chicano, Chicana voices, but not exclusively."
Borderlands Theatre's new producing director will be Marc David Pinate.
Says Goldsmith, "We're really fortunate to have someone of Marc's background to take over leadership of the program. He comes from a performance background and has worked with community arts organizations in the Bay Area, and recently completed an MFA in directing from DePaul University.
"Marc is focused on hearing voices in site-specific work that takes theater out to the community. He's also interested in broadening the diversity of our audience base. Even though we are a Latino theater company our audiences don't reflect that demographic. He wants to figure out why and broaden that base."
Pinate was a director in residence last year at Borderlands. In 2008 he received a three-year directing residency at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley from the Doris Duke Foundation. He was a faculty member at San Jose State University's department of Television, Radio, Film and Theatre for eight years. As a spoken word poet, Pinate won the 1999 National Slam Poetry Championship, and he is interested in ways of bringing unconventional theater to unconventional settings. He envisions "a reimagining of where theater happens, why it happens, and for whom it happens." His wife, Milta Ortiz, is here as a playwright-in-residence with funding from a number of sources and is working on a play about the banning of the Mexican-American studies in TUSD. Borderlands hopes to produce that play in the fall of 2015.
Pinate "will certainly bring a different energy and style" to Borderlands," Goldsmith says.
Goldsmith says he still hopes to continue his work with projects and relationships he's helped develop in Mexico. And as a founding member of National New Play Network, he will continue to participate in their summer program at the Kennedy Center in which a small number of playwrights are invited to have their plays workshopped and given staged readings.
Goldsmith also expressed appreciation for those with whom he has worked over the years. "Borderlands has been supported by a long term, dedicated board and staff, including Eva Tessler."
Pinate acknowledges that "Barclay's legacy and what he has created over the last 28 years I respect and cherish, and we're certainly going to honor that. We will continue Borderlands' identity and look for different ways to support its mission."