Rachel Aberle to become new artistic director of Vancouver's youth-oriented Green Thumb Theatre

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      An artistic force behind a Vancouver theatre company dedicated to youth is ending his run at its helm after three decades.

      Green Thumb Theatre artistic director Patrick McDonald announced on September 15 that after 32 years, he will be retiring from his position at the end of 2020.

      Rachel Aberle, who has been the organization’s associate artistic director since 2017, has been appointed McDonald's successor, effective as of January 1.

      Green Thumb Theatre was founded in 1975 to present live performances about social issues at schools and other venues across Canada and internationally for young people. All productions are accompanied by study guides for students and educators.

      As artistic director since 1988, McDonald commissioned over 50 new plays from emerging and established playwrights and has directed more than 75 productions.

      He received Jessie Richardson Awards for Outstanding Direction, Continued Excellence in the Field of Theatre for Young Audiences, and Career Achievement (in 2019). In 2013, he received the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award.

      “I am proud of how, as a company, we have stayed to course over the last three decades continuing to create new, engaging, and challenging work about the issues young audiences are dealing with,” McDonald stated in a news release.

      Aberle made her professional performance debut with the company, and wrote two plays for Green Thumb: Still/Falling, about adolescent mental health (premiered in 2015), and The Code, about consent and cyberbullying (premiered in 2018).