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Rachel Tibbetts Assumes New Leadership Role at PPA

Prison Performing Arts (PPA) is excited to announce the promotion of Rachel Tibbetts to Artistic Director. This newly restructured role will give Rachel creative direction over all PPA’s artistic initiatives: Youth Programs, Adult Programs, and the Alumni Theatre Company.


Throughout her 16-year tenure at PPA, Rachel has cultivated and led a talented, diverse team of teaching artists who have collaborated with hundreds of justice-involved youth across the region. Additionally, she has acted in several adult prison productions, directed shows at the women’s prison in Vandalia, managed the Alumni program for several seasons, and secured critical funding to support all PPA initiatives. She is an experienced educator and project manager, and respected by artists, facility staff, and artistic collaborators.


“Rachel has always played a pivotal role in PPA’s artistic and operational success, and her innovative, consistent leadership throughout the pandemic has been extraordinary,” said Shannon Durio, Executive Director. “Her creativity, commitment to equity and inclusion, and institutional knowledge will be instrumental for PPA in this next season.”


“I am thankful for Agnes for hiring me in 2005, all the years we worked together, and everything I was able to learn from her and her generous spirit and incredible talent. I'm greatly appreciative to Chris for the years we were able to collaborate, the great care he took in directing at each prison, and his vision and insight with the New Plays Initiative,” said Tibbetts. “Creativity, collaboration, and community have always been the heartbeat of the work of PPA. I'm excited to carry on that important mission and to explore new programming approaches between the youth and adult programming. PPA has found great success in a multidisciplinary approach with our youth programming. I am looking forward to creating similar types of opportunities for the Alumni Theatre Company and artists involved with the Theatre Projects, along with all the amazing theatre work already in place.”


Rachel Tibbetts has worked in arts education since 2000 as Education Associate and Assistant Director of Education at the Delaware Theatre Company in Wilmington; and Arts Partners Program Administrator and Assistant Arts Education Director at Young Audiences of St. Louis. She been with PPA since 2005. Rachel received her B.A. in Theatre from Oklahoma State University. She is a graduate of the Community Arts Training Institute at the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission and the Good Multiplier Fellowship; mobilizing women and people of color to lead change by promoting equity and civic engagement. Rachel is a member and co-producer of SATE, a St. Louis area based professional theatre company committed to highlighting the work of women artists. Rachel works in the community as an actor and director, having worked with ERA Theatre, The Midnight Company, R-S Theatrics, YoungLiars, West End Players Guild, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Tennessee Williams Festival, and Mustard Seed Theatre.


Please join us in congratulating Rachel on this new role!

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