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Jessica Francis Fichter.

Trustus Theatre Names Jessica Francis Fichter New ED

Fichter, who succeeds Chad Henderson, is said to bring “a 360-degree view” of the field to the South Carolina theatre.

COLUMBIA, S.C.: Trustus Theatre has announced Jessica Francis Fichter as its new executive director, effective Jan. 4. Fichter succeeds Chad Henderson, who stepped down as executive director in July 2021 after 15 years.

“Jessica will be a great addition to the staff at Trustus,” said board president Sumner Bender in a statement. “Her varied background in theatre gives her a 360-degree view of what is needed to aid in the success of a nonprofit arts organization. We are also interested in ramping up the Trustus education programs, and who better to herald that project than a former theatre educator?”

A director, playwright, and teaching artist, Fichter received a B.A. in theatre education, an M.Ed. in divergent learning, and an MFA in directing from the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in New York City. She has worked in South Carolina, North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York City in varying capacities, for such organizations as Food of Love NYC, Flat Rock Playhouse, Ensemble Atria, the Edge Theatre, the Connelly Theater, the Tank, the Kraine Theatre, Townstages, ASDS Rep Theatre, Feinstein’s/54Below, and in multiple private and public school educational settings as a teaching artist and director. Fichter also previously served as the artistic director of Chapin Theatre Company, and is the founder/artistic director of Evolving Door Theatre Company.

“The quality of productions and vision of Trustus has remained unique and clear,” said Fichter in a statement. “Professional theatre is necessary for Columbia’s artistic health, specifically as the city grows.”

Trustus Theatre is currently in its 37th season as the Midlands’ contemporary professional theatre. Founded in 1985 by Kay and Jim Thigpen, the theatre and the Trustus Company endeavor to enrich the lives and deepen the experiences of their artists and patrons by producing works that examine humanity in the 21st century. The theatre’s goal is to select challenging scripts that will start and nurture dialogues that promote discussion within the community with productions that are brought to life through dynamic storytelling and inventive designs.

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