You wouldn’t exactly expect to find a historic theatre nestled in the heart of Marietta Square to be producing the longest running off-Broadway Latin play, would you? Well, that perception is exactly what the team at Marietta’s New Theatre in the Square is working to change.
Artistic director Emil Thomas is a southern gentleman with a New York attitude. Raised in a family of Puerto Rican New Yorkers in the quiet streets of Cobb County, GA, Emil learned early the value of time and space. His love for theatre began in middle school when he was first introduced to Musical Theatre. He continued to play on the stage in high school when he attended Cobb County School for Excellence in the Performing Arts. By the end of his sophomore year in high school Emil knew that he wanted to move from acting on stage to directing and so he traveled to Muncie, Indiana where he studied under the leadership of Karen Kessler at Ball State University as an undergrad directing student.
After Emil graduated from Ball State, he returned to Atlanta to join forces with his dad, recognized Chef and video producer Raul Thomas who by now had assumed ownership of a historic theatre in Marietta Square. With Emil as artistic director and Raul as owner, the Marietta’s New Theatre in the Square, opened its doors in the fall of 2016 as the only Latino-owned and managed theater in Cobb County and one of two Latino-managed theaters in the entire state.
Marietta’s New Theatre in the Square, has one goal: to create theatre for the 21 century that is inclusive of all, executed through “Actors Theatre of Georgia” the in-house production company at the venue.
With Emil at the helm, Actors Theatre of Georgia has put together a lineup of shows that are inclusive, intersectional, explosive, and entertaining. Last year, for example, he headed up a production of Hamlet in which all the traditionally male roles were played by female performers, and vice versa. This year he directed a theatrical adaptation of Native Son, an exploration of race and identity in the 1930s based on the Harlem Renaissance novel by Richard Wright. The theatre was honored to host the playwright herself, Nambi E. Kelley, who attended a performance of the show and gave a talkback afterwards. Kelley had nothing but positive things to say about Native Son and Marietta’s New Theatre in the Square: she gushed that the theatre is “family oriented, and uses love as the basis of how they create and share their artistry,” and called the team who works there “extraordinary FEARLESS artists.”