Shakespeare & Company Names New Executive Director
LENOX, Mass. — Shakespeare & Company Board Chair Sarah Hancock announced Monday that Rick Dildine, previously of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, will become the organization’s executive director and president, starting early September 2014.
In this role, Dildine will be directly responsible for all of the company’s programming and administrative activities.
Dildine comes to Shakespeare & Company after five years as executive director of the nationally acclaimed Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, and four years as director of the MFA Program in Arts Management & Leadership at Webster University. He has a distinguished 15-year career in arts leadership, successfully managing several diverse organizations.
“I am honored to move into the role of Executive Director at Shakespeare & Company,” Dildine said. “It has been a long dream of mine to lead a destination theater, and to now work with one that is so well-regarded nationally for its work is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Shakespeare & Company has a 37-year history of producing exceptional theater and to be able to work alongside so many of its artists and craftsmen whose work I have admired for years is an incredible honor.”
The welcome announcement comes on the heels of opening the company’s 37th season with "Shakespeare’s Will" in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre. The hiring concludes an extensive national search by the company and Greg Kandel of Management Consultants for the Arts.
Dildine will visit the Company several times this summer, starting with its Midsummer Night’s Celebration on June 28. He will be on-site full time beginning in early September.
“We are extremely pleased to have Rick join Shakespeare & Company,” Hancock said. “We see Rick as a high energy-level leader who generates a sense of excitement about our organization’s current achievements, as well as our untapped potential for future growth and developmen t— and someone who can communicate his vision to all stakeholders with an infectious, but realistic, optimism.”
During Dildine’s employment as executive director of the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, he oversaw all administrative and programming activities. He was also responsible for building a business model with a clear understanding of how key resources, partners and activities align to produce a distinctive experience for an inter-generational audience of 100,000 patrons annually. During his tenure, attendance grew over 30 percent, income rose over 60 percent; education and community programs doubled in size and productions were recognized for their artistic excellence. In addition to Dildine’s duties at SFSTL, he served as director of the MFA Program in Arts Management & Leadership at Webster University, where he taught and mentored aspiring arts leaders.
Previously Mr. Dildine served as Managing Director of Chicago’s About Face Theatre, where he co-led a successful national campaign to retire the theater’s debt. For seven years he was associated with the Stephen Foster Theatre, four of these years serving Artistic Director. From 2006-08, Mr. Dildine was the producer of the Brown University/Trinity Rep New Plays Festival and the graduate playwriting program at Brown University, all under the leadership of Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel.
St. Louis Magazine named Dildine to the city’s “A-List” and “Power List” of the top 100 St. Louisans who are re-shaping the city. The St. Louis Business Journal named him to its “40 Under 40,” and he is a member of the 2013-14 Class of Leadership St. Louis. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Arts & Education Council of Greater St. Louis and the Advisory Board of St. Louis Fringe. In addition to his duties at the Festival, Dildine serves as the Director of the MFA Arts Management & Leadership Program at Webster University. He’s participated in grant panels nationally and traveled internationally with Theatre Communications Group to China and Cuba. Dildine received his BA from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia AR, his MFA in Acting from Brown University/Trinity Rep and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Society of Directors and Choreographers.
“I am thrilled to have Rick join us, share his expertise and support the vision of the company,” Artistic Director Tony Simotes said. “I am looking forward to working with him to make sure that Shakespeare & Company continues to be a vital part of the Berkshires for decades to come. I am excited to see his knowledge, commitment and passion added to our leadership team so that we can strengthen our service to our patrons and reinforce the company’s high standard of performance, training and education.”