One cultural institution in Delco has made some major moves, and it all kicks off this summer.
Hedgerow Theatre Company, located in Rose Valley, recently announced the appointment of artist, producer, and inclusion champion Marcie Bramucci as the organization’s new Executive Artistic Director. The change will happen the beginning of July, and in her new role, the Delaware County native aims to implement a radical expansion of inclusive practices and anchor Hedgerow—in its centennial year—as an artistic home for invention and possibility, and foster strong partnerships in the region to create community-centric, professional programming.
“There are so many converging elements that together make this an exceptional opportunity,” says Bramucci. “Like most all nonprofit theaters in this moment, transitioning out of the pandemic towards reopening, Hedgerow has many needs. I am motivated by those tangible, practical immediate needs that must be addressed in short order. And at the same time, on the verge of its 100th anniversary season, Hedgerow is exploding with possibility, which certainly draws me as well. Though quite frankly, I am deeply motivated by the commitment of the staff, board, and company who have kept the ship on course.”
In her new role, Bramucci will be taking the theater to new heights with a team of professionals working underneath her.
“As Executive Artistic Director, the artistic vision and the execution of that vision fall under my purview, right alongside the building of resources and audiences, and the stewardship of our facilities and idyllic campus,” she explains. “I have the pleasure of leading a modest but mighty team of administrators and company members, and working in alignment and partnership with our exceptionally dedicated board of trustees. Each and all of these individuals have stepped up in unimaginable ways in this transition. I feel incredibly fortunate to contribute to the company’s important and evolving work in this pivotal role.”
Bramucci is new to Hedgerow, but not to the theater community as a whole. Growing up in Morton, Pennsylvania, the new executive director started out on the stage at a young age through the legendary Upper Darby Summer Stage and a robust drama program at Ridley High School. However, Bramucci comes to Hedgerow Theatre Company with a wealth of experience, as a creative producer and as a community connector as well.
According to the release: For People’s Light, she served as Director of Community Investment. In this role, she has been instrumental in the development and execution of new plays —building community relationships toward a play’s ongoing evolution through to its premiere —including Karen Hartman’s ‘Project Dawn’, which received nine subsequent productions and is currently in development for Population Media Center as a television series; and MacArthur Fellow Dominique Morisseau’s West Chester-inspired ‘Mud Row.’ In her tenure with People’s Light, Bramucci has produced the acclaimed “Community Matters” series, fostered community exchange, and leveraged resources for increased access and engagement across the organization and the greater Philadelphia community. On behalf of People’s Light, Marcie was the proud recipient of Art-Reach’s 2015 Cultural Access Award for the company’s relaxed performance initiative (the first in the region) and inclusive practices. Previously, Marcie served as the Managing Director of Penobscot Theatre Company in Maine, where, in addition to helming the company’s operations, she supported new play development and spearheaded community-engaged programming.
But something about Hedgerow called her name.
“Hedgerow aligns directly with the values and approach I am most passionate about, especially the cultivation of artistic talent, opportunity for robust community exchange, promotion of lifelong learning with and through theatre, and an inclusive welcome for all. I am struck by the wealth of possibility I see in Hedgerow. There is so much to build on,” explains Bramucci. “From my most recent work with People’s Light, which involved artistic producing, developing of new works, and expanding the inclusive welcome of both the campus and mainstage work, there is a great deal I will draw on going forward. Serving as Managing Director previously and completing the Arts Administration program at Columbia University gave me necessary nonprofit management skills as well as meaningful experience at the helm of a theatre in all administrative aspects.
“Some of the most meaningful learnings have been in conversations and focus groups, where I’ve heard first-hand about the transformative role the arts have and can play in individual lives, and of the various barriers that make our work feel insular and can keep people away. I derive the most meaning and joy in the ability to listen deeply to stakeholders and collaboratively dream up ways in which to meet our moment, while seeking to expand theatre’s connectivity and reach.”
Inclusion is also near and dear to the new director’s heart. Bramucci leads a cohort of tri-state theaters that collaborate toward increased arts access and inclusion. In partnership with the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, Bramucci was responsible for the debut of Smart Caption Glasses in the US, a revolutionary technology for real-time captioning developed by the National Theatre of Great Britain. Her work has been featured in an international study on relaxed performances and shared at regional and national convenings, including Theatre Communications Group’s annual conference, Milwaukee Rep’s Intersections Summit, and Kennedy Center’s LEAD Conference, among others. Bramucci also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Villanova University, where she developed and teaches a course in Theatre Administration as part of the nonprofit certificate program, the release states.
“Hedgerow’s staff, company and board have given so much of themselves and along the way have demonstrated inventiveness, resilience, and determination in the face of the overwhelming challenges since last spring,” says Bramucci. “We can consider reopening this upcoming fall because of their collective diligence and care. In the short term, my top priority is to ensure we are welcoming our community and patrons into a space that is safe and ready for them. I aim to reopen strong, which will certainly take community support to do so.”
For the new director, it’s all about aiding possibilities for those who may not always get it, especially when being represented onstage.
“I am driven to help individuals — artists as well as participants — celebrate and learn themselves and others better, fostering curiosity and empathy over judgment, in order to weave people more tightly together as a community and as an artistic ecosystem. Going forward I aspire to reigniting Hedgerow’s legacy — a space of deep artistic exploration and of meaningful connections within the region and beyond,” she explains. “To be able to dive in and contribute meaningfully to the restart of this beloved institution at this moment is a gift. Generations of artists, producers and patrons have carried us this far — on the eve of Hedgerow’s 100th anniversary season — and in that time they have weathered a great deal. With the support and involvement of so many of our key stakeholders, I am eager to see us through this particular time, and to arrive together in a position of strength and possibility.”
For more information on Marcie Bramucci and Hedgerow Theatre, visit hedgerowtheatre.org