Tarell Alvin McCraney, an acclaimed playwright who won an Oscar for writing the story that became the 2016 film “Moonlight,” has been named the next artistic director of the Geffen Playhouse, a prominent nonprofit theater in Los Angeles.

The Geffen, like many regional theaters in the United States, has been hit by a downturn in the field — as of this spring, its subscriptions were 40 percent below prepandemic levels. But it was among the more innovative theater companies when theaters were closed during the pandemic, producing some popular virtual shows, and it is now in better shape than many.

McCraney, 42, said he was fully aware of the crisis facing the field, which he said was the impetus for him to decide to step into leadership.

“We’re at a place where, if I really love this, if I really want to effect change, I have to get in,” he said. “I can’t just sit on the sidelines. Across entertainment and across the arts there is a strong shift for everybody. Everybody…