The artistic director of a leading African American theater company in North Texas has been placed on administrative leave following his arrest Friday for allegedly soliciting sex from two boys. KERA’s Doualy Xaykaothao reports on the impact Tre Garrett’s arrest is having on Jubilee Theatre in Fort Worth.
The arrest warrant identifies the 33-year-old as Declois Garrett Beacham, but among theater goers, he’s known as Tre Garrett, a charming and energetic Houston native, whose very goal was to introduce theater to more young people. Glenda Thompson is managing director at Jubilee.
“I’ve seen him grow the audience, and grow the theater with the works that he’s brought to us,” she says. “He’s extremely talented.”
Since the 2011-2012 season, Garrett introduced such plays as Topdog/Underdog, the Pulitzer-prize winning drama. His production of The Brothers Size last year, topped critics’ lists for 2014. And under his direction, the company is presenting Charlayne Woodard’s one-woman trilogy, Pretty Fire, a look at growing up in the ’50s and ’60s. The final installment of that trilogy, “In Real Life,” is in previews and scheduled to open Friday. The show will go on. But Garrett will no longer be conducting any theater business, something Jubilee’s board of directors decided during an emergency weekend meeting. Instead, Thompson has been appointed as an interim manager of the theater’s artistic staff.
“This is something Mr. Garrett is really engaged in as Tre Garrett, and doesn’t really have anything to do with Jubilee Theatre,” says Thompson. “So we felt it was important that we gave him the time to sort through things, moving forward.”
Two boys, an 11-year-old and a 17-year-old, separately accuse Garrett of compelling prostitution, meaning offering to pay them money in exchange for sex. A third person, another 11-year-old, initially accused Garrett of kidnapping and soliciting prostitution, but later recanted. Attorney Patrick Curran represents “Tre” Garrett.
“My client, Declois Beacham maintains his innocence on both these charges.”
He says his client and his wife are distressed over false accusations against the artistic director.
“It’s very damaging to his reputation, no matter what the outcome, it’s hard to get that back. So that’s a a big loss for him. If this case is never charged by the D.A. or if he wins a trial and is found not guilty, he still has irreparable damage to his reputation.”
Curran says there’s a lot more to this story that hasn’t been revealed publicly, and hopes the public won’t judge his client based on the allegations.
Jubilee says its conducting its own internal investigation, and will take further action as warranted.