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Tim Sanford to Leave Playwrights Horizons

After 23 years at the Off Broadway new-play company, Sanford will pass the baton to longtime associate a.d. Adam Greenfield.

NEW YORK CITY: Playwrights Horizons has announced that artistic director Tim Sanford will step down from the position in July 2020. Associate artistic director Adam Greenfield will succeed Sanford in the post. Sanford will stay on through June 2021 to help the transition as outgoing  artistic director.

Tim Sanford.

“This theatre is the beneficiary of his insistence on excellence, and on the standards that have made Playwrights Horizons a model for those across the country who consider new work the future of the American theatre,” said board chair Judith O. Rubin in a statement about Sanford. “On a personal level, for more than three decades, I have been fortunate to know Tim as a wise, insightful, and articulate teacher, and as a friend.”

Sanford started at Playwrights Horizons as a literary intern in 1984, and later served as the company’s literary manager for nine years. He then was the associate artistic director for two years before becoming artistic director in 1996. During his tenure, the company produced works by many path-breaking American playwrights. The company and its work has been recognized with three Pulitzer Prizes, seven Tony Awards, and 40 OBIEs, among many other accolades. The theatre also received a  Drama Desk Citation in 2008.

“The greatest gift of this organization—one which has propelled me to lead this theatre for a quarter of a century—is our clear, unchanging mission and our indispensable place in the ecology of the American theatre,” said Sanford in a statement. “The artists we serve and the plays we develop and produce create new worlds and shine a light on our humanity. It has been my great pride and privilege to lead this organization, and I am thrilled to leave it in the very capable hands of Adam Greenfield, who has been an invaluable part of the leadership team and is an extraordinarily passionate, creative advocate of writers and the artists who bring their visions to life on stage. We are currently in a golden age of playwriting, and Playwrights is uniquely positioned to work with a new generation of writers and continue to explore and expand the form.”

Adam Greenfield.

Greenfield first served as literary manager of Playwrights Horizons, and has been associate artistic director since 2015. Greenfield conceived the theatre’s Resident Company Program, which provides like-minded theatre companies with year-round office and rehearsal space. He also launched the Redux Series, which remounts recent productions (Men On Boats, Miles for Mary) that have had a limited run elsewhere to bring them to a wider audience. He also created the theatre’s Guest Curator and Perspectives on Playwriting programs. Greenfield is himself a director, with recent credits including the Humana Festival, Clubbed Thumb, 13P, and the Playhouse Teater in Stockholm.

“Long before I joined the staff, Playwrights Horizons loomed large in my artistic life as a beacon for the exploration and advocacy of new writing,” said Greenfield in a statement. “This theatre is a testament to the audacity of artists, and to those who believe in their power to change how we perceive the world. It’s a story that’s inseparable from the contributions of Tim Sanford, whose integrity and wonder continue to be an inspiration. I’m deeply honored to be named his successor, and I’m thrilled for the chance to lead this extraordinary institution into its next chapter, to follow the unexpected paths that writers will forge, and to uphold theater’s distinct capacity to re-examine our lives and discover new questions.”

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