Theater Director, Actor, and PPA Collaborator Christopher Limber Named Interim Artistic Director, Succeeding Founder & Artistic Director Agnes Wilcox, Who Will Retire; Longtime Director of Education Rachel Tibbetts Named Associate Artistic Director
November 1, 2014, St. Louis, MO — The Board of Directors of Prison Performing Arts (PPA), the multi-discipline literacy and performing arts organization that leverages the power of art for personal transformation, today announced the appointment of Christopher Limber as Interim Artistic Director. Limber will succeed PPA’s Founder and Artistic Director, Agnes Wilcox, who will retire from the organization after two decades at the helm. Limber and Wilcox, who have been colleagues and collaborators in the St. Louis theater world for many years, will work together during a transition period during early 2015, with Limber taking the leadership role in March of that year.
“PPA would literally not exist without the passion, creativity and empathy of Agnes Wilcox,” said PPA Board Chairman David Lawton, Professor in the Department of English at Washington University. “Having known that Agnes would be stepping down for a well-earned retirement from PPA, the Board has been working with her to plan for a thoughtful succession. We could not be more pleased to announce that Chris Limber will guide the organization during this coming year. He’s the ideal candidate — not just a highly regarded theatre director and actor with experience at arts organizations, but someone who is passionate about PPA’s mission and experienced in working with our programs and performers.”
“I am fortunate to have had more than 20 happy and productive years at Prison Performing Arts,” said Agnes Wilcox. “I am extremely grateful that my friend and colleague Chris Limber will be using his myriad talents to further our mission.”
"I am delighted to continue the nationally recognized work of Prison Performing Arts,” said Christopher Limber. “I have deeply respected Agnes Wilcox for more than 30 years, having had many chances to work with her, including on several projects with PPA. She and her dedicated staff have made a remarkable difference within our community and the entire nation. To carry on the dynamic work of PPA is an honor and tremendously exciting. The work that PPA’s donors make possible is a profound contribution to our community.”
Limber is a professional director and actor, a published playwright, poet and composer/lyricist, and has contributed educationally or artistically to many major St. Louis arts institutions, including Prison Performing Arts — most recently co-directing Coming Home at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific, Missouri — The Rep, Opera Theatre, COCA, and Shakespeare Festival St. Louis.
Limber has taught actors of all ages at every major educational institution in St. Louis, including COCA, Saint Louis University, University of Missouri in St. Louis, Washington University in St. Louis, and Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. He has also taught workshops and teacher training at more than 100 middle, high and elementary schools throughout Missouri and Illinois A proud 35-year member of the Actors’ Equity Association and the Dramatists’ Guild, Limber studied English literature and Shakespeare at Exeter College – University of Oxford, England, holds a BFA in Acting from the State University of New York at Purchase, and is a graduate of the Community Artists Training offered through the Regional Arts Commission in St. Louis.
As part of PPA's strategic growth, Rachel Tibbetts, PPA’s longtime Director of Education, will become Associate Artistic Director on January 1. She and Limber will work together to take PPA forward, with equal emphasis on our programs for youth and adults.
Wilcox departs PPA having brought local and national acclaim to the organization and its performers. She plans to continue her work in museums, creating performances with former inmates and homeless veterans. She and a colleague are completing a book describing their theory and methodology of working with disenfranchised and marginalized populations. Wilcox will continue to lecture at colleges and universities across the U.S about the importance of the arts in corrections.
To schedule an interview or request additional information, please contact Shelby Partridge at Shelby@prisonartsstl.org or (314) 289-4191.
About Prison Performing Arts
Prison Performing Arts is a 22-year-old, multi-discipline, literacy and performing arts organization that leverages the power of art for personal transformation.
PPA's Adult Programs involve incarcerated men and women at the Northeastern Correctional Center (NECC) in Bowling Green, MO, the Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (WERDCC) in Vandalia, MO, and the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC) in Pacific, MO. Led by trained theater professionals, program participants write, rehearse, and perform theatre as a way to inspire curiosity, strive for excellence, and develop teamwork and communications skills necessary for successful re-entry into society.
PPA’s Alumni Theatre Program offers those performers who have re-entered society with a supportive and productive way to continue honing their skills, perform for the community, connect to their fellow actors, and earn a modest but essential wage. The organization’s Youth Education Program provides an empowering outlet for productive creativity to kids held at the St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center and the Hogan Street Regional Youth Center.
In all of its programs, PPA nurtures talent, inspires positive personal change, and presents unforgettable experiences for our St. Louis audiences.