Bonding With Syracuse

Tim Bond is the new Producing Director at Syracuse Stage and Syracuse University Department of Drama he’s served more than 20 years in regional theater throughout the country.

Bond served for 11 years as Associate Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival directing 12 productions, including works by Shakespeare, August Wilson, Suzan-Lori Parks, Edward Albee, Lorraine Hansberry, Lynn Nottage, Octavio Soliz and Pearl Cleage. Prior to that, Bond spent 13 years as Artistic Director with the Seattle Group Theatre, while there he directed more than twenty plays and oversaw the largest capital campaign in the company’s history.

Being on the job at Syracuse Stage for a year he shuttles back and forth between Syracuse and Washington, D.C. directing Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman for Arena Stage.

In late spring Bond after a board meeting asked where he could meet some community people and a meeting at Bethany Baptist Church was set.

When asked about Syracuse Stage and goals Bond may have for the future of Syracuse Stage he was very clear, “We are poised to become a theater that changes its national profile by development of new works. We are committed to new works and new plays. We would like to have deeper longer partnerships with those communities. We are about to hire a community engagement manager who’ll be helping us to reach out and make those connections so that the community sees us a resource. I see us as an inclusive organization, that’s perceived as a welcoming place.”

Ma Rainy’s Black Bottom and Crowns, the top and the close of Syracuse Stage’s 08/09 season, “book ends” of the season reaching out to the African American community in the words of Tim Bond “we want you here.”

When asked about Tyler Perry’s productions and his ability to fill the Landmark theater,
“Tyler Perry doesn’t have anything on us. Some of the top actors that are coming from Broadway to do shows with us this season were sought after by Tyler Perry. ”
Bond immediately shifts attention back to Syracuse Stage and their productions.
” Crowns is going to be incredibly entertaining uplifting a lot of gospel music, a lot of spiritual music, some hip hop we got jazz, we have anything that anyone would want in this season so see this as an alternative to what’s out there.”

Bond extends an open invitation to the African-American community asking people to check out Ma Rainy’s Black Bottom or Crowns, some of the same energy and uplift that make Tyler Perry’s plays and movies so popular are embodied in productions available at Syracuse Stage’s 2008/9 season.

Syracuse Stage’s transition isn’t restricted to Tim Bond’s leadership as he states, “under African- American leadership with an African-American Associate Artistic Director, an African-American Literary Manager and we’re currently hiring a community engagement person. We are a new organization it’s a new day. This is local but it is also national.”

Bond wants the community to look at Syracuse Stage not only as a local theater but theater with national recognition. “That’s where Syracuse Stage is going and it’s very exciting, Godspell which is going to be directed by John-Michael Tebelak is taking a very multicultural approach. The music director an African-American gentleman from St. Louis who will take the music of Godspell and infuse the music with different cultural rhythms of Africa, of Asia and Latin America and the cast will be very multicultural in its approach. “So it’s not your typical Godspell you might have heard about or seen this is a celebration of world culture and music and dance and multi-media.”

When asked, ‘What do you want the Syracuse community to know about Syracuse Stage today?’ Bond smiles and says, “This is significant shift towards embracing different cultures in Syracuse on our stage. So they should not see us as once a year in February. They should see us as Syracuse Stage and there’s always something going on there.”