Building for the Arts has named former Classical Theatre of Harlem Managing Director David J. Roberts as its new president. Roberts will succeed Wendy Rowden, who is leaving the position December 13 following an eight-year tenure. Rowden will continue to serve on BFA's Board of Directors.
BFA is a non-profit organization that programs and administers Theatre Row, Music and the Brain, and the American Playwriting Foundation. Roberts served as the group's interim director of theatre operations in spring 2022, and has also previously worked for Pearl Theatre Company, 651 ARTS, Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, and Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. He is also a professor at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale and The New School's College of Performing Arts.
"I’ve long been inspired by BFA’s distinctive work in the performing arts sector, from my early years in NYC witnessing AMAS Musical Theatre’s Off-Broadway production of Zanna, Don’t! as an audience member, to serving as line producer of Sonia Flew by Melinda Lopez at the 2006 Summer Play Festival, both presented at Theatre Row," says Roberts in a statement. "BFA’s mission-focus on ‘access’ and ‘opportunity’ align beautifully with my personal values, as I’ve actively sought out opportunities in my career where inclusion and diversity are accepted, embraced, and celebrated. I look forward to serving the institution and its vibrant, multi-faceted community of artists, arts organizations, audiences, and educators."
Adds BFA Board Chair Jeff Horwitz, "Wendy has been a transformative force for Building for the Arts, creating an active and engaged board and staff, supporting and growing programs, and positioning us for continued success delivering for the arts and our community. We have been lucky to have her attention and prodigious energy and are thrilled to have her remain on our board.
"We are excited and energized to have David Roberts join the organization to lead us into our next phase. David is our first president with direct theatrical and performing arts experience and we welcome his vital perspective and passion for all our efforts.
"None of this would have been achieved were it not for the commitment and devotion of the search committee, under the unflagging leadership of board member Andy Hamingson. Andy brought deep industry expertise, ensuring equity and an outstanding result in what was a highly competitive process."