A Message from American Stage’s CEO and Producing Artistic Director, Stephanie Gularte

By August 11, 2020 June 29th, 2021 Uncategorized

Sometimes life pushes us to find strength through vulnerability.

While I have typically chosen to keep my personal life personal, I know that this is a moment when I need to share.

In February, I received an unexpected health diagnosis when I learned that I have lost much of my peripheral vision. It turns out that the night blindness that I’ve experienced since I was in my 20s is a symptom of a rare, progressive genetic condition that evolves from night blindness to peripheral vision loss and eventually, loss of direct vision. On March 13, 2020, my specific diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) was confirmed through genetic testing.

Currently, there is no treatment or cure for RP. How fast my disease will progress is a question that the medical experts cannot answer with any certainty. I am resolved to remain hopeful that my progression will continue to be slow and that eventually there will be advances in treatment options. I’m determined to do everything I can now to take care of my health in an effort to slow the progression of my disease while I prepare for a different future than the one I’d planned. Many of you know that I’ve long been a passionate student of all-things-wellness. Now the need to treat time and my well-being as precious resources is more profound than ever.

After much soul searching, I’ve made the very difficult decision to step down from my position at American Stage in 2021 to focus on my health and to begin to chart a new course for my life. Over the coming months, I’m looking forward to planning American Stage’s 2020-21 programming, and continuing the development of a COVID re-emergence strategy and an Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion action plan in partnership with the American Stage board and staff. It is painful to be planning my exit at this extraordinary time and under this difficult, personal new reality. But I am confident that American Stage will emerge from this moment strong and prepared for a new era as our world looks to our arts organizations to help us recover, rebuild, and reimagine.

As I make this important adjustment in my life, I look forward to finding new ways to thrive and to contribute to my community.

With Hope and Gratitude,