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Seattle Theater Artist Andrea Allen Dies Of Cancer

Andrea Allen was a force to be reckoned with. For more than two decades she ran Seattle Repertory Theatre's Education Program, but her passion for theater and for kids transcended the Rep. Allen shared her expertise with other Seattle arts groups. She was involved with teen writing programs.  And she was involved in arts advocacy at the state level, as a leader of Arts Ed Washington.

Allen got her start in Seattle's theater community at Annex Theater. She spent more than 10 years there, involved in all aspects of the art form, from directing and writing, to acting on occasion.  In addition to running the education program at the Rep, Andrea Allen directed two recent plays, "Speech and Debate" and "Circle Mirror Transformation."

One of Allen's last initiatives at the Rep was the "Yes" program. It was designed to generate plays for a new, younger generation of theater goers. Allen was convinced that live theater needed to put something different on stage if it wanted to survive in the Internet era.

In a 2010 interview Allen said theater companies needed to think seriously about how to attract new audiences. "How do you create a space in which people can come and sometime love, sometimes hate, sometimes want to throw tomatoes, but really feel like this is where they want to be?"

Andrea Allen succumbed to breast cancer on November 15.  She was 45-years-old.  She is survived by her husband, set designer Matthew Smucker, and their twin sons.