Webb at the Neptune announcement.
After a nationwide search, Jeremy Webb (Off the Leash Creative, WillPower Theatre) has been named Neptune Theatre's new artistic director, following George Pothitos' eight-year run.
Currently the artistic producer of Eastern Front Theatre, Webb has performed in over 20 Neptune productions, most recently as Cogsworth the Clock in the theatre’s production of Beauty & The Beast.
"Now I know what they mean when they say your social media exploded,” says Webb. “I thought having a birthday on Facebook was exciting enough, but this is crazy—my phone started buzzing in my pocket seconds after my name was mentioned at the announcement."
“The reaction has been humbling. I didn’t know the extent to which people would be excited by this. I’m in awe of the fact that Neptune chose to hire someone that lives here, who knows this community, who knows and trusts the people,” says Webb. “I want to see my colleagues working, creating and getting energized along with Neptune.”
No stranger to the organization, Webb says he began working with Neptune the day after he got off the plane from England 19 years ago. He’s looking forward to continuing his commitment to highlighting emerging and diverse voices.
“The work I’ve been doing at Eastern Front—we have a different mandate: Atlantic Canadian stories by Atlantic Canadians. I’m really into that. We focus on diverse stories, shows at Eastern Front don’t normally get to be on the main stage at Neptune, there's lots of emerging artists, that’s something I’m going to carry on whilst helming Neptune,” says Webb. “That’s not to say that you won’t see the big musicals—it’s those big shows that make the edgier, more financially risky shows viable. I also want to expand the support base for other theatre organizations, I know a lot of the community members here and I’m excited by what they do in the trenches.”
“There are ways that Neptune can put dollars and love behind those writers—and not just writers, the directors of tomorrow and the designers of tomorrow, be it light, sound, costume, whatever. There’s a great team of professionals at Neptune who want to see that happen too.”
Citing Eastern Front’s Stages Theatre Festival, which centres emerging playwrights and gives a chance for new plays to be workshopped and read for the first time, Webb acknowledges that one of the most important things he can do in his new role is continue his commitment to those fresh voices. “Let’s face it, there’s only so much freshness a 49-year-old white dude can bring,” he says. “But I do what I can and I listen to other artists. Eventually us older actors will disappear and become extinct. But we have to keep the next generation coming. I think change is possible.”
Webb's five-year term will begin January 1, 2018 and he will program his first complete season with Neptune beginning in the fall of 2018.