In a media release, Richmond’s Gateway Theatre announced Jovanni Sy will step down as artistic director next year to pursue new challenges.
“Jovanni has been a visionary leader for Gateway, bringing the wider community together and inviting more people to experience professional live theatre. The Board and I are extremely grateful for what he has accomplished,” says Gateway’s board chair, John Watson, in the release.
Appointed artistic director in 2012, Sy has been applauded for playing a key role in elevating Gateway’s national and local profile through plays in both English and Chinese languages. Sy was responsible for launching the Chinese-language Pacific Festival in 2014.
In addition to being a stage director, Sy is also a playwright and actor. This season, his play Nine Dragons was produced in Calgary and Winnipeg before coming to Gateway earlier this month, and his one-man show A Taste of Empire will see its Cantonese premiere in Toronto in May. Sy has also appeared on the Gateway stage a number of times, including King of the Yees in 2016.
“It was tough decision to make, to leave a place I care about so deeply,” says Sy. “Yet I know the time has come for me to move on.”
Looking back at his six year tenure at Gateway, Sy says he is filled with pride in what he has been able to accomplish.
“We produced many memorable plays, shows that delighted and engaged audiences and that went on to garner awards and critical acclaim,” he says. “I know that whoever follows me will continue to make Gateway a relevant creative hub for Richmond, a place where all voices are heard and where our community comes together for the love of art.”
Gateway Theatre’s board will announce plans for a recruitment process in the coming months.
In an online message, Sy talks further of his departure and his legacy.