NEW YORK CITY: Signature Theatre has announced that executive director Harold Wolpert will be stepping down, effective June 30, as he looks to pursue change in the field more broadly and from outside of an institution for the first time in his three-decade career.
“Harold is a beloved member of the Signature family,” said board president Nina Matis in a statement. “What began as a consultancy turned into an impactful tenure at an important juncture in Signature’s history. We look forward with excitement to the bright future he has helped us establish, including the imminent reopening of the Pershing Square Signature Center and innovative new programming devised by artistic director Paige Evans.”
Wolpert joined the company in October 2017 for a six-month consultancy as the company transitioned to Evans after the death of founder James Houghton. Previously, Wolpert had served in leadership roles around the country, including at Manhattan Theatre Club and, most recently, Roundabout Theatre Company. He was appointed as Signature’s executive director in March 2018. During his tenure, Wolpert has spearheaded the company’s board growth and development, including the creation of its first equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility committee; helped launch new initiatives; and formed new co-production and touring relationships that amplified the work of resident playwrights. Most recently, Wolpert oversaw the theatre’s response to COVID-19, including the Sustain Signature Fund, which raised $2.25 million.
“I have been deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve this community as Signature’s executive director,” said Wolpert in a statement. “I was humbled by the board’s invitation to stay on, and my decision to leave Signature was an incredibly difficult one. Signature’s unmatched commitment to playwrights aligns so well with my own deep admiration for writers as artists, citizens, and activists. Signature’s core values of access, embodied by the Signature Ticket Initiative subsidy, and cultivation of community make it a beloved and special company where I’ve been enriched by the ‘orchestrated collisions’ that occur all the time. I will miss those daily interactions, but, at this moment of great uncertainty, and amidst cries for racial justice and equity, I have decided to shift my focus to collaborate with artists and the theatre community in a different way. Signature is a gift from Jim Houghton, and it has been an honor to be one of the beneficiaries of his generous spirit, and I intend to carry that forward in service to our field.”
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