This post was updated on Sept. 25 at 12:48 p.m.
Professor Brian Kite was named chair of the department of theater within UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television Monday. He has been teaching at the school for 10 years.
Having worked in the school for a decade, Kite said the chance to be a part of the school’s leadership was too good to pass up. He said he aims to steer the department in the right direction.
“I’m still finding my way, but my position is about guiding faculty and students in a certain direction, figuring out a vision along with the faculty and finding a way to implement that vision,” Kite said.
Teri Schwartz, dean of the UCLA School of TFT, made the announcement and said she is confident Kite will lead the department well. She said he will bring imagination and a tireless work ethic to the role.
“(Kite) brings an outstanding history of great teaching, mentoring, distinguished creative work and robust artistic direction and management, especially with the resounding successes of the multi-award winning La Mirada Theatre Company,” Schwartz said in a UCLA press statement.
Kite previously served as the producing artistic director of La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts between 2008 and 2015. During this period, he directed several productions including “Les Misérables,” “Miss Saigon,” “Billy Elliot” and “Little Shop of Horrors.”
He said his previous experience in theater will help him in his transition to chair of the department.
“I’m a theater director first and foremost so I have a lot of experience in that world, which puts me squarely in what we do here in the department,” Kite said.
Kite has not only directed live theater across the United States, but also internationally. In China, Kite was behind the country’s first ever production of “Miss Saigon,” and his play “Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers” toured the country, playing in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing.
He said directing abroad helped him realize theater is now on a global stage: Few people still think of theater in the provincial sense.
For Kite, connecting the theater department with the greater Los Angeles arts community is a crucial part of his vision.
“We’re at a great time in the department where people are energized, the faculty are engaged and everybody wants to figure out what’s next,” Kite said. “We’ve had a lot of changing with retirements and new faculty, (and) everybody’s looking to figure out what we’re gonna do next. This is the time to focus on that discussion and move things forward.”
Kite is also a UCLA alumnus. He received his bachelor’s degree in arts and his master’s degree in fine arts from the UCLA School of TFT.
Compiled by William Thorne, A&E senior staff.