Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre Announces New Artistic Director




June 20, 2011

CONTACT: Mary Ruth Marotte, (501) 428-4165;


CONWAY – Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre is thrilled to welcome Rebekah Scallet as the new Producing Artistic Director of the organization. Ms. Scallet holds an MFA in Directing from Illinois State University. She will be returning to her native state after many years of training and experience in Chicago and elsewhere. Currently Ms. Scallet is directing Twelfth Night at Illinois Shakespeare Festival and will start her new position with AST on August 15th. Dr. Mary Ruth Marotte will remain in the position of Executive Director. “I am thrilled to have an artistic partner of Rebekah’s caliber. Her experience in directing, teaching, and arts management will help AST reach new heights,” remarked Marotte. Ms. Scallet will be taking over the reins after the 2011 season, as founding Producing Artistic Director Matt Chiorini moves on after five seasons with AST. “Though I’m proud of everything we’ve done and think that this will be our best season yet, I firmly believe that our best is yet to come. We’ve come a long way in five years and I’m sad to leave, but I know that the festival is in good hands for many years to come. I hate to miss what’s coming next and will be dropping off my resume with Rebekah soon!” said Chiorini.

Scallet’s connections with Shakespeare in this state run deep and are personal. Her family first became involved with the old Shakespeare Festival of Arkansas when her sister was cast in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as one of the fairies. Her father was so taken with the performance and the concept, that the following year he joined their board, and over the next succeeding years he grew into a large leadership role, eventually becoming board president. He worked closely with Jay Randall and later Angie Gilbert to keep the Festival going, though it lost a lot of momentum when Jay tragically passed away in 1999.

The first Shakespeare production Scallet ever worked on was also with SFA—Twelfth Night—in 1998. She was the stage manager, and it was presented outside at MacArthur Park. She has gone on to direct or assistant direct three other productions of Twelfth Night since then, and it has remained one of her favorites.

Scallet’s father passed away in 2006, after battling cancer for four years. During that time he was not able to continue working with the Shakespeare Festival, but he never stopped believing in the mission of bringing Shakespeare to Arkansas. Scallet admits to being motivated by her father’s history with championing Shakespeare in Arkansas. “Coming into this position as the Artistic Director of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, I am inspired by my father’s legacy,” admits Scallet.

Scallet will be introduced at the opening night of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Tickets are on sale now for AST’s 2011 season which runs through July 3. For more information about tickets, please visit the AST website or call the Reynolds Performance Hall box office at (501) 450-3265.


For more information contact Mary Ruth Marotte at (501) 428-4165 or