The Ford Theater: Same artistic vision, new leader
Cory Alexander Haywood | 7/13/2017, midnight
Dave A. Ford is the first African American Chair of the John Anson Ford Theatre Foundation. He was appointed to the board in 2014 and elected chair in 2016.
“I’m very fortunate and humbled to be in this role,” he gushed. “It’s hard to describe the joy and excitement I feel.”
He continued, “It’s important for me to hold myself accountable—to meet the expectations that come with being the ‘first’ of anything, especially in a field that represents so much diversity and culture.”
Situated in a 32-acre regional park in the Cahuenga Pass, the Ford Theatres complex is one of the oldest performing arts venues in Los Angeles still in use.
Each year, the Ford presents an eclectic summer season of music, dance, theatre, film and family events that represent the diversity of the region.
Coincidentally, David’s last name is Ford, but he says there’s no relation, as far as he knows, with the theatre.
His role is to oversee the vision and mission of the brand and its role in cultural diversity in LA County.
“As chair, I am proud of the diverse line-up of performances at Ford Theatres. We’re excited about our upcoming summer season as we come together to Ignite The Ford [the name of the summer series]. It’s important to provide a space that encompasses all that Los Angeles and the world has to offer in cultural entertainment.”
He added, “We want to continue to embrace the diversity of Los Angeles and the artistic imagination of local artists by allowing them to present on a worldwide stage.”
David says that when he first arrived, the Ford was in a transitional phase, resulting in a lack of organization and consistent staffing.
“When I came on board in 2015, there were many challenges,” he recalls. “There were a lot of personnel changes and unfinished construction projects. We had to persevere and exercise patience. It was a road, but the reward has given all of us a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Our visitors will be pleased with the results.”
Ford’s summer lineup will incorporate classic elements of the Black experience, ranging from spoken word to hip-hop inspired choreography.
“What we’re doing is reflective of our culture in Los Angeles,” David emphasized. “We’re a melting pot of different ethnic groups from different parts of the world. That’s the most rewarding part of my role at Ford—seeing the laughter and joy coming from our visitors. It’s a place where harmony, culture and the power of artistic expression become one.”
The John Anson Ford Theatres are owned by the County of Los Angeles and operated in partnership with the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Ford Theatre Foundation.
Tickets can be purchased at FordTheatres.org or by calling (323) 461-3673.