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Vivienne Benesch Named New Artistic Director at PlayMakers

She’ll leave the helm of Chautauqua Theatre Company to take the reigns of the North Carolina repertory company in 2016.

Benesch (Photo by Alison Sheehy)
Benesch (Photo by Alison Sheehy)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.: PlayMakers Repertory Company, the professional theatre-in-residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has announced that Vivienne Benesch will succeed Joseph Haj as the theatre’s producing artistic director. The appointment marks the end of an extensive national search. Benesch will assume the position on Jan. 1, 2016.

“PlayMakers, the search committee, and UNC have made an inspired choice,” said Haj, who was recently appointed artistic director of Minneapolis’s Guthrie Theater, in a statement. “Vivienne is a spectacular artist, thinker, and leader. She has a powerful commitment to community, relationships with many of the nation’s finest artists, and a demonstrated ability to nurture and develop early-career artists.”

Benesch accepts her new position after 12 seasons of artistic directorship at the Chautauqua Theatre Company in New York. An actor, director, and educator, she has served on the faculty of actor-training programs at both New York University—her alma mater—and the Juilliard School.

“After the galvanizing tenure of Joseph Haj, I feel a profound sense of both possibility and responsibility to build upon—and deepen—the excellence and breadth of artistic achievement, education, community engagement, and commitment to inclusion that have become the hallmark of PlayMakers,” said Benesch in a statement. “I also can’t think of a more passionate and devoted community of staff, artists, artisans, and audience with whom to do just that.”

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