July 01. 2015 2:46PM

Children's theater

Director, teacher, Hollis native Jared Mezzocchi to lead Andy's Summer Playhouse


WILTON — Following a six month national search process, Andy’s Summer Playhouse announces Jared Mezzocchi, a director, educator and multimedia theater artist, will helm the 45-year-old children’s theater.

“We are so thrilled that after talking with many talented candidates from across New England and the Northeast, we found that the best choice for Andy’s was someone who knows us well and loves New Hampshire,” said Linda Tanner, president of the playhouse board. “Jared marries his New Hampshire roots and Andy’s experience with his years of building a theater career in New York and D.C. ...”

Mezzocchi, who becomes the fifth to lead the operation, takes over from interim artistic director John McCluggage and interim executive producer Alexandra Urbanowski, who have held down the fort at Andy’s since this past April and will continue to guide the 2015 summer season until Mezzocchi steps in next month.

The summer theater is centered around collaborations between children and professional artists who work together in a variety of media: performance art, theater, dance, music, puppetry, video, set and lighting design and playwriting.

Mezzocchi, a Hollis native, has been a regular at Andy’s since 2009, directing original productions such as “The BFG,” “The Block” and “The Lost World.”

“Andy’s has meant so much to so many children and families for 45 years,” Mezzocchi said. “My vision for Andy’s is one of exploration, engagement and exposure. I believe The Playhouse holds such a poignant sense of spirit with the children, and I trust, at its core, Andy’s can and will reignite conversations around the vitality of new, multimedia, ensemble-based children’s work.

“Andy’s Playhouse provides a home and outlet for children as well as the professional artists, which is a rare blend of theater making that I am thrilled to help facilitate for these future generations of thinkers and doers.”

Mezzocchi, who received his masters in fine arts degree in performance and interactive media arts at Brooklyn College, is on faculty at University of Maryland, College Park, where he leads the projection design track in the MFA Design program. He is a resident artist at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in Washington, D.C., and has directed and/or designed at theaters across the United States and Europe. In 2012 he received the Princess Grace Award, becoming the first projection designer to be honored with this national theater award.

Mezzocchi will officially assume the role of producing artist on Aug. 1, but will be at Andy’s directing his original production of “The Kid of Billy the Kid,” a Western coming-of-age tale written expressly for the playhouse and to feature children from Andy’s. That show will open July 18. The season also will include: “Shakespeare Remix — Andy’s Midsummer Night Dreaming” and “Into the Woods.”

Andy’s, which a staff of more than 16 professional artists, involves about 250 children each year, with about 3,000 audience members taking in shows, according to andyssummerplayhouse.org. The children’s theater is located inside a former Grange Hall in Old Wilton Center, which seats about 125 for performances.