Hope College has named an experienced actor, director and educator as managing director of the long-running Hope Summer Repertory Theatre (HSRT).

Richard Perez, who was most recently associate artistic director with Chicago Dramatists, joined HSRT on Friday, Feb. 1.  HSRT will open its 42nd season in June.

Perez succeeds Mary Schakel, who retired in 2012 after 40 seasons with HSRT, including serving as managing director since 1979 and as producing director since 1984.

He has also been appointed an assistant professor of theatre at Hope, and will assume teaching and directing in the college’s department of theatre in the fall.

“This dual appointment as managing director of HSRT and as a tenure-track member of the Hope College faculty is intended to improve the already excellent cooperation that exists between HSRT and the theatre department,” said Dr. William Reynolds, who is dean for the arts and humanities and a professor of English at Hope.  “Richard is a dynamic and effective teacher, a skilled director and actor, and an experienced producer and administrator.  We welcome him to Hope and have every confidence that he will excel in this demanding position.”

Perez was with Chicago Dramatists through a two-year, New Generations/Future Leaders Fellowship granted by Theatre Communications Group.  He was previously the producing artistic director of the Bloomington Playwrights Project (BPP) in Indiana for seven seasons.

While with BPP, he was responsible for selecting, creating, and overseeing all aspects of production for the company. In that time he oversaw the production of over 30 new mainstage plays, with at least 16 of those being world premieres. In his first season as artistic director, he created the Ensemble of Artists, a group of talented writers, directors and actors who have become instrumental in the day-to-day running of the company and the development of new work.

His direction of new plays includes work by Sarah Treem, Susan Lieberman, John Green, Sheila Callaghan, Trista Baldwin and Toni Press-Coffman.  His directing credits include national venues such as the New York Fringe Festival and the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices Festival.

Perez has taught acting or improvisation for The National Actor’s Theatre in New York City, at Arizona State University, for Theatre Sports New York, Indiana University, Ohlone College, the Bloomington Playwrights Project and numerous workshops around the country. He has also served on several arts boards and adjudicated for many regional and national playwriting contests. 

He studied acting at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and with Uta Hagen at HB Studios in New York City. He is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and an associate artist at Chicago Dramatists. He was also an acting apprentice at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre from Hunter College in New York and a Master of Fine Arts degree in performance from Arizona State University.

HSRT began in 1972 as Hope Summer Theatre, which was made possible by the opening of the 500-seat DeWitt Center main theatre in the fall of 1971.  HSRT has operated with its current repertory format, and with its current name, since 1974.