Arena Stage in DC hires shepherd for new plays

Arena Stage in Washington is expanding its artistic staff by adding a respected producer as director of the theater’s American Voices New Play Institute.

The theater announced Thursday that Polly Carl will join the company to oversee the institute and creation of new works.

The 61-year-old regional theater company reopened last year in the $135-million Mead Center for American Theater, aiming to become a leading creator of new American plays. Arena was the first regional theater to send a play to Broadway.

Carl previously served as artistic development director at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company and as artistic director of the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis.

In announcing the appointment, Arena Artistic Director Molly Smith says Carl’s experience will be a turning point for the Washington theater company’s focus on new plays.