CHAPEL HILL – PlayMakers Repertory Company, the professional theater in residence in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, has named Jeffrey Meanza to serve as associate artistic director. He will work closely with producing artistic director Joseph Haj as the theater company expands its artistic programming and community outreach.

“In this newly created position, Jeff will continue to oversee education and outreach as he takes on more responsibility in season planning and supporting the artistic efforts of the theater. Jeff has been an exceptional colleague since joining PlayMakers. I am thrilled to work with him in furthering the artistic scope of our work,” said Haj.

Meanza joined PlayMakers as director of education and outreach in 2007. He is a professional actor and teacher, having worked with theater companies in New York, Minneapolis, and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. As a PlayMakers acting company member, he has appeared in productions such as “Angels in America,” “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” and “Amadeus,” among others.

In addition to his work onstage, Meanza has spent his tenure with PlayMakers developing and marketing its educational programs to better serve the growing diversity of the Triangle area of North Carolina. In the fall of 2008, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, he launched the theater’s artist residency program, sending teaching artists into underserved schools. He is administrative leader of the Summer Youth Conservatory, created in partnership with The ArtsCenter of Carrboro, NC. This award-winning program gives young people opportunities to receive professional-level training and performance experience in acting, singing, and movement, as well as training in technical theatre.

Meanza also manages the theater’s outreach programs for patrons of all ages. He created The Vision Series, which puts the community in dialogue with guest and resident directors, and offers a unique, behind-the-scenes look at PlayMakers’ work in progress. He creates the post-show dialogue component of PlayMakers’ PRC2second stage series, in which audience members engage in conversation with the artists and experts in the socially relevant topics tackled in the productions. He has helped develop partnerships with community organizations, such as the Durham County Library, Chapel Hill Public Library, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center, and Kidzu Children’s Museum, among others.

Meanza holds a BA in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as alumni artist in residence in 2005. He earned his MFA from the Professional Actor Training Program in the Department of Dramatic Art, UNC-Chapel Hill.

PlayMakers contact: Connie Mahan, (919) 428-1744, cmahan@email.unc.edu