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2023-2024 SeasonIn the News

Leading Ladies in the Arts

By May 7, 2024No Comments
Karla Boos

North Hills Monthly – Women have been shattering glass ceilings in corporations and in STEM fields, and the arts is no exception. While nationally there may be a dearth of women in leadership positions in the arts, things are improving on that front. Pittsburgh is leading by example. In this two-part series, we will be talking with women who are leaders in the Pittsburgh arts community about their journeys, as well as the importance of arts in our culture.

Karla Boos, Founder and Artistic Director, Quantum Theatre

Quantum Theatre, a sophisticated theater company, recently celebrated its 100th production with a remarkable Klezmer musical based on the love story of artist Marc Chagall and his poet wife, Bella: The Flying Lovers of Vitbestk.

Founded in 1990 by Karla Boos, what distinguishes Quantum Theatre from a traditional theater is that it is not bounded by four walls. “We threw out the theater—the canvas for this experimental work was not a traditional theater, but the exciting possibilities this city offers. We love outdoor spaces, new and old, so for 34 years, we have made work in places that are mostly not theaters,” said Boos.

For example, the 2023-24 season opener, Hamlet, was staged at the Carrie Furnace. Quantum audiences have traveled far and wide, to nearly 100 locations through an industrial blast furnace, parks, cemeteries, swimming pools, warehouses, museums, and cathedrals.

This type of international and interdisciplinary theater was uncommon in Pittsburgh when she first founded the company.

When Boos first came to Pittsburgh over 30 years ago, she was befriended and mentored by several women who were at the helms of their respective arts organizations. She felt welcomed and heard, joining formal and informal collaborative organizations. “Thanks to those efforts long ago, we are a very diverse ecosystem,” she commented, adding that women as decision-makers in the arts will filter into the kinds of stories that are told.

Boos is encouraged by how the number of women in arts leadership roles in the city has grown and spoke well of its general cohesiveness. “Women bring an important kind of creativity and openness to leadership in general. I’ve found Pittsburgh to be a place that nurtures women’s leadership; I’ve been privileged to be a member of several important women’s professional organizations. You find, if you get to be a regular part of a group of high-powered women, that we are very supportive of each other, very collaborative and very open to new ideas,” she said.

Read the full story here.

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