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Lindsay Smiling, Morgan Green, and Yury Urnov. (Photo by Johanna Austin.)

Lindsay Smiling Named Wilma Co-Artistic Director

Co-artistic director James Ijames will depart after this season.

PHILADELPHIA: The Wilma Theater has named Lindsay Smiling to be their new co-artistic director. Smiling will join co-artistic directors Morgan Green and Yury Urnov.

“The selection of Smiling as co-artistic cirector elevates a Wilma HotHouse Company member to a leadership position, continuing the Wilma’s deep relationship with its acting company and Philadelphia theatre artists,” managing director Leigh Goldenberg said in a statement. Smiling will assume the role on Aug. 1.

Lindsay Smiling.

Smiling is currently performing in his 19th show at the Wilma, the world premiere of Nathan Alan Davis’s Eternal Life Part 1. Smiling will also be featured in Twelfth Night at the Wilma in June. Smiling’s other acting and directing credits include the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Arden Theatre Company, Syracuse Stage, People’s Light, the Pittsburgh Public Theater, Mixed Blood Theatre, and the American Conservatory Theater, among others. In addition to being a HotHouse Company member, Smiling is a founding member of the Black Theatre Alliance of Philadelphia and an adjunct professor at Temple University.

“I’m so happy of the choice for Lindsay to be the next co-artistic director of the Wilma,” outgoing co-artistic director James Ijames said in a statement. “I learned so much from my time in this role, and from working alongside the cohort. The Wilma will always be an artistic home for me, and I’m so thrilled to continue my relationship with the company as they present one of the first regional productions of Fat Ham next season.”

Since the 2019-20 season, the Wilma has used a shared leadership model, with co-artistic directors rotating leadership roles each season. Going forward, the three co-artistic directors will instead equally share leadership responsibilities.

The Wilma Theater creates living, adventurous art to engage artists and audiences in imaginative reflection. Established in 1973, the Wilma has presented work with renowned avant-garde theatre artists and mounted bold, innovative productions, including world premieres. As of 2021, the theatre had a budget of approximately $3.2 million.

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