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Marybeth Clark and Julian Wiles. (Photo by Erika Diven Greco)

Charleston Stage Adopts 2-Person Leadership Structure

With founder Julian Wiles’s departure, Marybeth Clark will become artistic director alongside a new managing director starting in May 2023.

CHARLESTON, S.C.: Charleston Stage has announced the appointment of a new executive leadership team consisting of a managing director and artistic director, to be instated when founder and producing artistic director Julian Wiles retires in May 2023. Former associate artistic director Marybeth Clark has been selected as the artistic director designee; she will oversee the artistic aspects of the company while the managing director oversees finances, marketing, and development. The managing director position has yet to be filled.

Marybeth Clark has been with Charleston Stage for 23 years, beginning as director of education and becoming associate artistic director in 1998. Serving as director, actor, educator, and administrator, Clark has helped launch and manage the company’s resident professional acting company, the creation of the West Ashley Theatre Center and Pearl Theatre, as well as overseeing the launch of Charleston Stage’s new CityStage community performance and educational programming. She has directed over 60 productions, including Mamma Mia!, Elf The Musical, Of Mice and Men, and this past spring’s production of Kinky Boots.

Since founding the company in 1979, Julian Wiles has produced and/or directed more than 350 productions, in addition to writing over 40 original plays and musicals for the company, including Gershwin at Folly, The Seat of Justice, and this coming season’s JFK and Inga Binga. Wiles was named a distinguished alumnus at UNC Chapel Hill in 2021, was inducted into the SC Theatre Association’s Hall of Fame in 2018, received the 2010 Governor’s Award for the Arts, received a Special Recognition Award in 2004 from the Charleston NAACP for his work on The Seat of Justice and received the National Youth Theatre Director’s Award in 1988. 

“I am very grateful for the generosity of our patrons, donors, and the entire Charleston community over the years,” said Wiles in a statement. “Their support has made it possible for Charleston Stage to continue to expand its artistic horizons, and I look forward in the coming year and in the years to come in supporting Marybeth Clark, our artistic director, designee, and our upcoming new managing director once that candidate is selected. I have no doubt  they will bring their own unique perspectives and imaginative creative vision to the work of Charleston Stage as they lead the company into the next phase of Charleston Stage’s artistic growth and evolution.”

Upon his retirement at the conclusion of the company’s 45th season, Wiles will become director emeritus and will continue to be involved with the company in a limited capacity, directing one or two shows a season and being available to consult with new leadership as requested.

The board of trustees has enlisted president of Management Consultants for the Arts David Mallette to conduct a national search for the new managing director. Valerie Morris, Charleston Stage board member and retired dean of the College of Charleston School of the Arts, will chair the search committee. They intend to fill the position by January 2023.

Charleston Stage is South Carolina’s largest professional theatre company, in residence at the historic Dock Street Theatre. The nonprofit company has presented over 150 productions, has premiered more than 30 new plays and musicals, and employs 33 full-time staff members, guest artists, performers, and high school apprentices. As of 2020, Charleston Stage had a budget of $2.7 million.

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ADV – Billboard