Grey Noise Theatre Co. recently announced a change in leadership. J.C. “Jace” Meyer-Crosby, co-founder and former artistic director, has stepped down to make way for Rochester performer, educator and activist Hector Manuel.
Manuel returned to Rochester after performing in New York City as a teenager. He appeared as Hedwig in “Hedwig & the Angry Inch” at the Rochester Fringe Festival, Warren in “Ordinary Days” and Alfie in “Peter in the Starcatchers” at Blackfriars Theatre, and Beethoven in Grey Noise’s “Dog Sees God.”
Manuel is a teaching artist with OFC Creations and Drama Kids of Rochester, and a performance educator with Impact Interactive. In the past, he served on the board for the Greece Performing Arts Society and as a consultant for Rochester Latino Theatre Co.
Manuel went on to serve on the Grey Noise season selection committee and later as director of marketing and engagement.
“I’m so excited to start this new journey, and continue the work to uplift marginalized voices and usher in new ways to create safe spaces for all production members,” he said.
Meyer-Crosby said Grey Noise was founded to create a respectful, person-centered creative practice that allows artists to bring their whole selves to the work.
“We quickly realized that for artists of color, bringing their whole selves to the process was always going to be more challenging because of the discrimination they face in this industry and everywhere,” he said.
In the current social climate, Meyer-Crosby and Grey Noise management believe it is important for people of color to be able to shape the culture of the spaces they inhabit to be more inclusive.
“I look forward to building on the foundation Grey Noise has already started, but also really getting to add those layers of nuance that come from being a part of marginalized communities myself,” Manuel said.
Grey Noise is producing live Zoom readings of plays by Black and indigenous playwrights, preparing for the virtual KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival in September, and planning for the post-COVID-19 stage next year.