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Hartford Stage Names Cynthia Rider Managing Director

Rider will co-lead the company with incoming artistic director Melia Bensussen.

HARTFORD, CONN.: Hartford Stage has named Cynthia Rider as its managing director. Rider previously served as executive director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). She will begin the role in July, succeeding Michael Stotts, who left the company in January. Rider will work with incoming artistic director Melia Bensussen. This is the first leadership team of women in the company’s 55-year history.

Cynthia Rider.

“I am delighted that Cynthia will be joining me at Hartford Stage and am excited to partner with such an accomplished and esteemed theatre professional,” said Bensussen in a statement. “I know we will be a tremendous team, and we will work together to continue to uphold the Stage’s artistic excellence, while growing the theatre’s connection to our many communities. I can’t imagine a better collaborator for this next era in Hartford Stage’s history and can’t wait to start our work together in the coming months.”

Rider has served as OSF’s executive director since 2013. During her tenure, she worked with former artistic director Bill Rauch on creating the company’s strategic plan, oversaw an increase in contributed income, managed an annual operating budget of $40 million, and participated in artistic initiatives that resulted in three OSF-commissioned plays moving to Broadway. She also created OSF’s Access for All campaign, which included renovations of theatre spaces and the opening of the new Hay-Patton Rehearsal Center. Before joining OSF, Rider spent nine years at Kansas City Repertory Theatre as managing director and associate director for advancement and administration. She also served as executive director of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, and the Acting Director of the Massachusetts Manufacturing Partnership. She also has a performance history as a guest artist and young company actor at Houston’s Alley Theatre.

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