Alan Stanford asked to step aside from post at Pittsburgh theatre

Actor, writer and director reportedly removed from position as artistic and executive director after board meeting

The actor, writer and director Alan Stanford has been asked to step aside from his post as artistic and executive director of PICT Classic Theatre in Pittsburgh, by the board of the theatre.

Stanford, who has been part of the theatre in Pittsburgh for over a decade, was reportedly removed from his position, following a meeting of the board.

In a press release, the co-president of the board of directors said that there was a vote to remove Stanford.

“At its June 28th, 2022, meeting, the board of PICT Classic Theatre determined that it was necessary to make a change in the organisation’s leadership and voted to remove Alan Stanford as the artistic and executive director at PICT,” co-president Eileen Clancy said in the statement.

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The release was issued in response to queries from a reporter at Pittsburgh City Paper, Amanda Waltz.

The Pittsburgh City Paper originally published a story after a planned production of The Boys in the Band at PICT, where Stanford was artistic and executive director, was pulled.

Ms Clancy has been appointed as PICT’s acting executive director until further notice.

‘Libellous statements’

In response to queries from The Irish Times, Stanford said: “The matter is with my lawyers as libellous statements have been made therefore it would be inappropriate for me to comment.”

On Tuesday, PICT’s website listed Stanford as artistic and executive director there, and his distinctive voice was on voicemail for the theatre’s main phoneline. Several attempts to reach management at PICT were unsuccessful.

The actor was well-known to Irish audiences for over three decades, as an actor and director at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, which he has said he considers his “spiritual and artistic home”. He was also familiar over many years as long-running character George Manning in RTÉ1′s drama series Glenroe.

Originally from England, Stanford moved to Ireland in 1969, and was based in Dublin for decades, working extensively in theatre, film and television. He was director of the Project Arts Centre and founder of both the ITC touring theatre and Second Age theatre company. His work at the Gate predated Michael Colgan’s 33-year run as director there. From 1980 onwards, Stanford was a leading actor at the Gate, where he also adapted scripts for the stage and directed productions including Pride and Prejudice, A Christmas Carol and The Importance of Being Earnest. His Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre adaptations were also performed in the US and Canada.

Stanford joined Pittsburgh’s PICT (formerly Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre) around 2008, taking over as artistic and executive director there in 2013. Since then he has occasionally returned to direct shows at the Gate, including W Somerset Maugham’s 1926 play The Constant Wife in 2016 and, in 2017, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, which he had previously done at PICT in Pittsburgh.

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey is a features and arts writer at The Irish Times

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent