jakub | June 3, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | Chris Jennings Named Manhattan Theatre Club Executive Director


Chris Jennings. (Photo by Shakespeare Theatre Company.)

NEW YORK CITY and WASHINGTON, D.C.: Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) has announced that executive director Chris Jennings will depart the company to take the same job at Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC). Jennings succeeds MTC executive producer Barry Grove, who will step down at the end of the month.

“Working with Chris has been a dream,” STC artistic director Simon Godwin said in a statement. “He has been a tremendous partner, a truly visionary thinker, and a tremendous collaborator. I know I speak for everyone at STC when I say we will miss him dearly.”

“I’m looking forward to Chris’s arrival and the start of an exciting new chapter at MTC,” MTC artistic director Lynne Meadow said in a statement. “Chris’s enthusiasm for our work and his producing experience will be of great benefit to MTC, our artists, and our audiences.”

In 19 seasons with STC, Jennings has produced over 100 productions with the D.C. company. Throughout Jennings’s tenure, the theatre received the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award, toured productions in the United Kingdom, the Middle East, and Macau, and launched District Shakespeare, an accessibility program that gives students from all 53 D.C. high schools the opportunity to see live Shakespeare productions. Jennings is currently leading the mixed-use real estate project The Bard, designed to provide actor housing for STC productions.

Jennings has served on the boards of Theatre Communications Group and DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative, among other organizations, and has been a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Prior to joining STC, he served as the general manager at Trinity Repertory Company and at Theatre for a New Audience. A member of the League of Resident Theatres, Jennings earned his BFA from the University of Miami and his MFA in theatre management from the Yale School of Drama.

“It is with mixed emotions that I head north, but between STC’s dynamic, audacious programming led by Simon’s artistic genius and the most dedicated and talented staff in D.C., I truly believe STC has a bright future ahead,” Jennings said in a statement. “I’m truly excited to partner with Lynne in building on her success and helping to continue to create an artistic home for the most talented artists working in the theatre today.”

“I have followed Chris’s career for a long time,” outgoing MTC executive director Grove said in a statement. “Over the last 25 years, he has shown himself to be an exceptional talent. I am sure he will be a great leader as he joins Lynne for MTC’s next season.”

Shakespeare Theatre Company tells vital stories in audacious new ways for all audiences. STC believes that theatre is a search for the common thread that binds us all, and that each show is an opportunity to build community and empathy.

Over five decades, Manhattan Theatre Club has grown from a small off-off-Broadway showcase into one of the country’s most prestigious theatre companies. MTC has staged approximately 600 world, American, New York, and Broadway premieres at its Broadway and two Off-Broadway theatres. As of 2021, the organization had a budget of approximately $15.9 million.

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