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Vanessa Morosco. (Photo by the American Shakespeare Center.)

Vanessa Morosco Named American Shakespeare Center Executive Director

Morosco succeeds founding executive director Ralph Cohen.

STAUNTON, VA.: American Shakespeare Center (ASC) has named Vanessa Morosco their new executive director, effective immediately. Morosco, an actor and director, will work alongside artistic director Brandon Carter.

“On behalf of the board of trustees, I am delighted to announce Vanessa Morosco’s appointment as executive director of the American Shakespeare Center,” board chair Kim West said in a statement. “Vanessa embodies the energy, hope, and joy of our mission to illuminate the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, both classical and modern. Her leadership as executive director will help to ensure that the lights in our beautiful theatre continue to burn brightly.”

Morosco, who has performed in over 25 productions with ASC, is the co-founder of the 50/50 Shakespeare Project, which is dedicated to advancing gender equity in the workplace of Shakespeare’s plays. She is also a consultant and ethicist with Impact Drama, leading equity, diversity, inclusion, and unconscious bias trainings for businesses. Morosco is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and holds an M.A. in ethics from Yale University. In addition to performing with ASC, Morosco has also directed both touring and resident company productions and helped establish educational opportunities for community members, including a continuing legal education program.

“Each word in our name contributes to our distinctiveness as an organization,” Morosco said of ASC in a statement. “As the American Shakespeare Center, we share light, share ideas, share joy, and share community.”

In 2022, ASC adopted a shared leadership model, headed by Carter and community programs manager Aubrey Whitlock (who is now the director of education programs). As executive director, Morosco succeeds Ralph Cohen, ASC’s founder and senior advisor.

“Vanessa Morosco’s skills as an actor, a director, and an educator helped to build the ASC,” Cohen said in a statement. “How fitting—and how lucky for us, for our supporters, for Staunton, for our mission—that this brilliant woman is returning to lead the company she knows and loves so well. As the company’s founding executive director, I couldn’t be more hopeful about our legacy and our future than having Vanessa as my successor.”

The American Shakespeare Center recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage through performances, education, and scholarship. As of 2022, the theatre had a budget of approximately $3.2 million.

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