STAUNTON, VA.: American Shakespeare Center (ASC) has announced that co-founder and artistic director Jim Warren will step down at the end of the year. Warren, who founded the company 29 years ago with Ralph Alan Cohen, is leaving to pursue other opportunities.
“It’s safe to say that we wouldn’t be where we are today without Jim’s vision, wisdom, energy, and passion,” said Chris Little, chair of the ASC’s board of trustees, in a statement. “We can’t thank him enough for what he’s meant to our organization and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”
Warren and Cohen started the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express in 1988, which later became the ASC. The company relocated to Staunton and opened the Blackfriars Playhouse, a recreation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, in 2001. During Warren’s tenure, the ASC performed in 47 U.S. states, 5 other countries, and a U.S. territory. Warren directed ASC’s first show, Richard III, and helmed more than 125 productions at the theatre.
“I’m humbled that the vision Ralph and I dreamed up years ago has become Shakespeare’s American Home, a truly one-of-a-kind Shakespeare experience,” said Warren in a statement. “And I’m grateful to all of those who have dreamed the dream with us, from our amazing actors and staff to our donors and patrons of all ages from all over the world. I couldn’t be more proud of how far we’ve come and the impact we’ve had on so many. I’m excited for the path we’ve charted for the next 30 years.”
The ASC is forming a search committee, which will conduct an international search for its next artistic director.