Producing Artistic Director, GableStage
Born in Los Angeles, Bari Newport realized early on that she had a calling, rooted in a love of theater that has shaped her life. As a teenager, she worked as an acting apprentice at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts. She went on to earn a degree in theater at the University of Southern California, and, in 2000, a master of fine arts in theater from The University of Iowa. Before coming to Coral Gables, she held artistic and producing positions at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, the Pasadena Playhouse and the Florida Repertory Theatre in Fort Myers. For the past nine seasons, she has served as artistic director of the Penobscot Theatre Company in Bangor, Maine.
Newport was tagged to lead GableStage in March of this year, succeeding Joe Adler, who died in April 2020 of pancreatic cancer. “Bari has the rare combination of artistic ability and business skills to run a theater and lead our growth efforts,” the GableStage board said in a statement. “We wanted someone who would address the diversity of Miami, have their own voice and creative style, and be a leader who engages the community, board, company, staff and volunteers. Bari will lead us into the future.’’ GableStage plans to reopen its intimate 138-seat theater in November with a production of Arthur Miller’s “The Price,” a play that was in rehearsals when the pandemic hit.
What She Says
“Theater brings people together in a shared experience that can express a vision of what humanity can be, or what the current state of humanity is,” says Newport. “For me, theater has to do with service. That drives me, gives me optimism, joy and hope. If Joe and I overlap in any way, it is that we attack storytelling with a bold and vibrant vigor.” Like her predecessor, Newport wants theatergoers to be entertained and challenged. “Audiences want to be stimulated, and to talk about the experience afterward,” she says. “With each production, we have to ask, ‘Why here? Why now?’ Because now, in the midst of the pandemic and racial reckoning, the whole world resonates differently.”