Shakespeare Festival St. Louis Names Tom Ridgely Executive Producer

The co-founder of New York’s Waterwell will take the reins of the Missouri company.

ST. LOUIS: Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has named Tom Ridgely to be its new executive producer, succeeding Rick Dildine. Jennifer Wintzer, the director of community engagement and education, has been serving as the interim producing director and will resume her role when Ridgely arrives on May 21.

“The Festival board members are excited that we have found in Tom Ridgely a leader who will provide the artistic vision, entrepreneurial talent, organizational management skills, and inspired drive towards innovation essential to Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ continued growth,” said Penny Pennington, board chair of the Festival, in a statement.

Tom Ridgely. (Photo by Jody Christopherson)

Ridgely currently serves as the artistic director of Waterwell in New York City, which he founded in 2002 with actor Arian Moayed. Ridgely oversees the Waterwell Drama Program at the Professional Performing Arts School. During his tenure, the company has developed and produced more than a dozen world-premiere productions and adaptations of classic works. Waterwell has been nominated for IT awards, a Drama Desk, a New York Magazine culture award, and a Village Voice “Best of NYC.” Ridgely has directed projects at the Public, the Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Society, Red Bull, Ars Nova, and more. Ridgely’s directing work has been awarded by the DFW Theater Critics Forum and ECNY Awards, and has been nominated for CT Critics Circle and BroadwayWorld Connecticut Awards.

“I simply couldn’t be more honored or thrilled that the board has entrusted me with leading this next exciting phase in the life of the festival,” said Ridgely in a statement. “It is a dynamic and innovative organization that has woven its way into the fabric of this vibrant American city. The festival’s history of community engagement, and commitment to making Shakespeare accessible to all St. Louisans, is as radical as it is necessary. Building on and extending that legacy will be a tremendous privilege.”