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Artistic director Sean Daniels to depart Merrimack Rep

Sean DanielsCheryl Senter for The Boston Globe/file

Sean Daniels, who has led Lowell’s Merrimack Repertory Theatre for the past four years, will leave in May to become artistic director of the Arizona Theatre Company.

The new post will represent a homecoming for Daniels, 46, who grew up in Mesa, Ariz. The Arizona Theatre Company operates stages in Phoenix and Tucson.

In a statement, Daniels said “it’s been an absolute honor to be part of the revitalization of MRT,’’ adding: “Though we are going to be closer to family in Arizona, we will always think of Lowell as the place where we got to be a part of a truly remarkable community.’’


A search committee chaired by Merrimack Rep trustee Evan Schapiro will conduct a national search for Daniels’s replacement, according to the theater.

Reflecting his emphasis on new work, Merrimack Rep has staged 13 world premieres during Daniels’s stint as artistic director. Later this month it will present a 14th: Daniels’s adaptation of “The Haunted Life,’’ an early novel by Jack Kerouac, which he will codirect. In 2016, the theater presented the world premiere of “The White Chip,’’ Daniels’s memoir of his battle with alcoholism.

He directed numerous productions at Merrimack Rep and provided a showcase for playwright Lauren Gunderson, including December’s “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,’’ cowritten by Gunderson, which was the top-grossing production in the theater’s 40-year history, as well as Gunderson’s “I and You,’’ which transferred off-Broadway, and her “Silent Sky.’’ He also directed Benjamin Scheuer’s “The Lion’’ and Lila Rose Kaplan’s “Home of the Brave.’’

Daniels is married to actress Veronika Duerr. They have a 10-month-old daughter, Vivien.

Don Aucoin

Don Aucoin can be reached at aucoin@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter@GlobeAucoin