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American Theatre Wing Appoints Heather Hitchens as New Executive Director

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New York, NY (May 11, 2011) – The American Theatre Wing (Theodore S. Chapin, Chairman, Board of Trustees) today announced that Heather Hitchens has been appointed as the organization’s next Executive Director. The decision was made at a meeting of the American Theatre Wing’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday, May 4. Hitchens is an energetic and nationally recognized arts executive, with nearly 20 years of experience in performing arts administration, policy, and program development. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), the oldest and largest state arts agency in the country, with a budget of $40 million. Hitchens will begin her tenure as Executive Director on July 5, succeeding Howard Sherman, who has been the Wing’s Executive Director for 8 years and concludes his tenure on June 30.

During her four year tenure at NYSCA, Hitchens oversaw the distribution of over $123 million in grants to more than 2,000 New York State organizations in every artistic discipline. She also fostered closer collaboration and partnerships between the arts and other sectors including tourism, economic development, and parks, and in collaboration with a number of public and private funding sources, launched the Cultural Data Project, which is developing more comprehensive and reliable data about the impact of the arts in New York State. Prior to working with the NYSCA, Hitchens served as the CEO of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and the renowned national arts organization Meet The Composer, where she established a multi-million dollar endowment fund and fostered a thirty-fold increase in individual giving. She holds an M.S. in Arts Administration from Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA and a B.M. in Percussion/Music Business from DePauw, Greencastle, IN.

“The Wing is a uniquely collaborative organization,” said Theodore S. Chapin, Chairman 0f the Board of Trustees. “Our fruitful and long-term partnership with the Broadway League in bestowing the Tony Awards is a key element of the Wing, as are our various media, educational, and grant-giving programs. Howard Sherman brought the Wing into modern times, expanding, creating and widening the scope of the activities with intelligence and skill, and his contributions have made the Wing a more important place. Building on what Howard achieved, our extraordinary search committee did yeoman service, and their choice of Heather Hitchens speaks well for us all. From my vantage point as Chairman, I feel Heather is the perfect person to guide us into the next phase of collaborations, mining new opportunities and strengthening old ones.”

“I am absolutely thrilled to become the American Theatre Wing’s next Executive Director,” enthused Heather Hitchens. “It is a tremendous opportunity to continue my life’s work in advancing exceptional artists and their craft, and to return to the place that my career began and a place that I love – the theatre. I look forward to working with the Wing’s board and staff to continue showcasing and supporting artistic excellence and innovation in the national theatre community.”

Search Committee-member and Tony Award®-winning playwright David Henry Hwang added, “From an impressive pool of final candidates, Heather Hitchens emerged as the Search Committee's unanimous choice. Her knowledge of the cultural sector is second to none, she has elevated every organization with which she has been associated, and she possesses a clear and practical vision to advance the Wing's mission. With Heather as our new Executive Director, the American Theatre Wing is poised to take a major step forward to support artistic excellence in the theatre.”

The American Theatre Wing (Theodore S. Chapin, Chairman, Board of Trustees; Howard Sherman, Executive Director) is a not-for-profit organization best known as the creator of the Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards®, which it presents annually with The Broadway League. In addition to “Downstage Center,” “In The Wings,” “Working in the Theatre,” and a host of other online resources, The Wing operates many activities, all dedicated to recognizing excellence and supporting education in theatre, including SpringboardNYC, the Theatre Intern Group, the National Theatre Company Grants and the Jonathan Larson Grants. Visitors to www.americantheatrewing.org can listen to, watch or download from ATW’s extensive media collection, and learn more about all of its programming for students, aspiring and working professionals, and audiences who want to learn more about the making of theatre. Follow ATW on www.Facebook.com/TheAmericanTheatreWing, www.youtube.com/americantheatrewing and www.Twitter.com/TheWing.

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