ST. LOUIS: Steven Woolf has announced that he will retire from Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, which he has led for 30 years. He plans to leave at the end of the 2018-19 season.
“It’s not often you get to live your dream, but I’ve been able to do just that at the Rep,” said Woolf in a statement. “My life’s work has been about the theatre, and making it all come together has been a grand experience. Our theatre has had major successes and some bumps in the road. But through it all, I’ve had fun—it’s too hard a gig not to have fun. I am wildly proud to have been a part of the collective effort that has built our institution into a community leader.”
Woolf became the artistic director in 1986. Prior to that, he occupied various positions at the theatre, including managing director, production manager, and interim artistic director. He has directed 43 shows at the Rep. Under his leadership, the Rep has won a combined 100 Kevin Kline and St. Louis Theater Circle Awards. In 2016, Woolf was awarded the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award from the St. Louis Arts and Education Council.
The Rep has just finished its 50th anniversary season. It will conduct a national search for Woolf’s successor in the coming year, with the hope of finding someone by fall 2018. Woolf plans to continue working with the Rep after his retirement, when he will be named artistic director emeritus.
“Steven Woolf is synonymous with the Rep,” said Arlue Briggs, president of the Rep’s board, in a statement. “Over the past 30 years, his stewardship has kept the Rep culturally relevant, financially successful and artistically daring. We cannot thank him enough for making our institution what it is today. Together, our search committee members and consultants will conduct an exhaustive, national search to ensure that we identify a worthy successor.”