Ethan McSweeny Named New Artistic Director of The American Shakespeare Center | Playbill

Industry News Ethan McSweeny Named New Artistic Director of The American Shakespeare Center McSweeny succeeds Jim Warren, who co-founded ASC and stepped down at the end of 2017.
Ethan McSweeny Alexander Berg

The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia, has appointed director Ethan McSweeny as the company's new artistic director. McSweeny succeeds Jim Warren, who co-founded ASC almost 30 years ago and stepped down at the end of 2017.

McSweeny has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and internationally on more than 80 productions. His production credits include The Best Man and A Time To Kill on Broadway, as well as the Off-Broadway premieres of Ellen McLaughlin’s adaptation of Aeschylus’ The Persians, Kate Fodor’s Rx and 100 Saints, Jason Grote’s 1001, and John Logan’s Never the Sinner.

In Washington, D.C., he directed Shakespeare's The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, and Merchant of Venice, and his touring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream opened the 27th Macao Arts Festival in China.

“Despite the variety of productions I’ve been involved with, I am a classicist at heart,” McSweeny stated. “I want to position the ASC not so much as a place for ‘original practices’ but as a laboratory for a cutting-edge, innovative company that dares to put the focus of theatre where it should be: on the handmade, on the performer, and on the words.”

He has been the associate director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in D.C. and served 12 years on the executive board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

“I’ve appreciated the ASC from afar for some time,” McSweeny continued. “As I began to learn more about the organization, I was struck by the quality of what has been achieved and the potential the company has to grow its mission locally, regionally, nationally, and even internationally. The ASC’s celebration of the human spirit through Shakespeare is an inspiring goal that transcends merely the making of plays and engages with something larger, something that I am humbled and excited to become a part of nurturing and building.”

In his new role, McSweeny will begin planning ASC’s 2019–2020 slate and play an important role in selecting the next winners in the ASC’s Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries project, an international playwriting competition that offers playwrights from around the world the opportunity to compose original works in conversation with Shakespeare’s classics.

“Ethan is known throughout the industry for his innovative and collaborative approach to new work and the classics,” said Amy Wratchford, managing director of ASC. “He is perfectly suited to help lead our Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries project while exploring the many possibilities presented by Shakespeare’s staging conditions.”

For more information on ASC visit

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