WASHINGTON, D.C.: Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company‘s artistic director Howard Shalwitz will step down from the theatre he cofounded at the end of the 2017-18 season. Shalwitz said he is leaving the company to focus more on being an actor, director, teacher, and “advocate for theatre.” A national search for Shalwitz’s replacement will begin this summer.
“I’m incredibly proud of everything we’ve accomplished over the past 38 years,” said Shalwitz in a statement. “Woolly Mammoth was a dream that Roger Brady and I had in the late 1970s, and with the help of our third cofounder Linda Reinish, as well as the dedication and support of so many others, we’ve had greater impact than I could have imagined.”
During its 38-year history, Woolly Mammoth has produced more than 200 plays, including 78 world and American premieres. Among them are Mr. Burns (A Post-Electric Play) by Anne Washburn, Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl, and Stupid Fucking Bird by Aaron Posner. The company has received 45 Helen Hayes Awards. In 2014, Shalwitz received the prestigious Margo Jones Award in recognition of his lifetime commitment to new American plays.
In addition to running the theatre, Shalwitz has directed several award-winning productions, including Stupid Fucking Bird and Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris. He’s also acted onstage in The Gigl Concert by Tom Murphy and Lenny & Lou by Ian Cohen. In September, he will appear onstage in The Arsonists by Max Frisch.
“We are looking forward to celebrating Howard and everything Woolly has achieved under his leadership,” said Linette Hwu, president of Woolly Mammoth’s board of directors, in a statement. “At the same time, because he’s built an organization that has change in its DNA, we are also excited about this transition and the opportunity it presents to ensure that Woolly’s next four decades are equally successful. To that end, the board and I are ready to undertake a search process with the same reach, depth, and inclusiveness that characterizes all of Woolly’s efforts and to support its next artistic director as we move together through an important milestone in the theater’s evolution.”