STAUNTON, VA.: The American Shakespeare Center has announced today that its new artistic director will be Ethan McSweeny. McSweeny will succeed Jim Warren, who co-founded ASC almost 30 years ago and stepped down in 2017.
“To have someone as accomplished and insightful as Ethan join us as our Artistic Director feels both gratifying and sustaining,” said ASC’s co-founder and director of mission, Ralph Alan Cohen, in a statement. “It speaks to our success in the past three decades and assures that the future of the ASC will be brilliant.”
McSweeny is a freelance director whose work includes over 80 productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, across North America, and abroad. He received the first bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Dramatic Arts conferred by Columbia University. McSweeny was previously the co-artistic director of Chautauqua Theater Company, and the associate director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company. He served on the executive board of SDC and is a trustee of the SDC Foundation. McSweeny’s work has led to more than 75 theatre award nominations and 30 wins across the globe, including 4 Best Director wins. NYC credits include Broadway productions of The Best Man (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards) and A Time To Kill, as well as the off-Broadway premieres of Ellen McLaughlin’s adaptation of Aeschylus’s The Persians, Kate Fodor’s Rx and 100 Saints, Jason Grote’s 1001, and John Logan’s Never the Sinner (Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards). Recent work includes a tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that opened the 27th Macao Arts Festival in China, Florian Zeller’s The Father at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, and Mohammed Fairouz’s The Dictator’s Wife at the Kennedy Center.
“I’ve appreciated the ASC from afar for some time,” McSweeny said in a statement. “As I began to learn more about the organization, I was struck by the quality of what has been achieved and the potential the company has to grow its mission locally, regionally, nationally, and even internationally. The ASC’s celebration of the human spirit through Shakespeare is an inspiring goal that transcends merely the making of plays and engages with something larger, something that I am humbled and excited to become a part of nurturing and building.”
McSweeny’s first duties as artistic director will include planning ASC’s 2019-20 artistic year and selecting the next winners in ASC’s “Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries” project.
“To say that we’re thrilled to introduce Ethan as our new Artistic Director would be an understatement,” said chair of ASC’s Board of Trustees Christopher Little in a statement. “We’re ecstatic that Ethan shares our vision that Shakespeare’s American Home can showcase Shakespeare and change lives one encounter at a time and know that he will bring new ideas, new creativity and new life to the ASC.”