The Dallas Theater Center has hired a new managing director, Jeff Woodward. The current managing director Heather Kitchens announced her retirement last fall after four years at the DTC. KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports Woodward has extensive experience in New Jersey and New York but also family foots here in North Texas.
Jeff Woodward had never seen Dallas – until he came here during the Theater Center’s hiring process the past few months. “But my father, my uncles, my grandfather and my grandfather were all born in Texas,” the 56-year-old says, “and my dad was from Wichita Falls. My grandfather ran a roofing company called the Woodward Roofing company until he moved everybody up to Colorado, which I guess is where Texans go to escape the heat.”
Woodward’s primary experience has been in managing the McCarter Theatre Center, New Jersey’s leading stage company, located at Princeton University. He worked with artistic director Emily Mann for 17 years – during the time when the McCarter won the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater. One possible reason for the DTC’s hiring of Woodward: While he was at the McCarter, six of the theater’s productions transferred to Broadway.
More recently, Woodward’s been the managing director of Syracuse Stage in New York. The company commissioned and produced new plays as well as also staging nearly all ten of August Wilson’s Century Cycle. It also collaborated with such notable companies as the Seattle Rep, Lookingglass Theatre and Actors Theatre of Louisville.
So what does he hope to do at the Dallas Theater Center?
His first aim, Woodward says, is obviously to get to know Dallas and to get to know “one of the most remarkable theater facilities anywhere.” But in terms of the DTC, “one aim is to make this one of the great American theater companies. The theater has gone through a pretty rapid growth spurt, the budget’s more than doubled and I think there’s a desire to build on that” — including investing in new American plays and in continuing community partnerships “to make this a theater for everyone.”
Woodward may well be the first managing director who comes to the DTC with a long history in international theater exchanges. He helped transfer a Syracuse Stage production to the Market Theater, South Africa’s leading stage company — and brought the Market’s revival of Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Banzi is Dead to both Syracuse and the McCarter.
If artistic director Kevin Moriarty and the theater’s board are interested in such projects, Woodward says with a laugh, “I would love to. So yes — yes to international exchange.”
The full release:
Dallas Theater Center Announces Appointment of Jeffrey Woodward as Managing Director
DALLAS (May 18, 2015) – The Dallas Theater Center Board of Trustees announced today the appointment of Jeffrey Woodward as managing director of the 56-year-old organization. Woodward’s experience includes Syracuse Stage and 17 years at McCarter Theatre Center. The appointment follows the departure of Heather M. Kitchen, who announced her retirement in September 2014. Woodward will formally assume his post in mid-July.
“We are thrilled to have Jeff join the team at Dallas Theater Center,” said DTC Board Chair Rebecca Fletcher. “During the months-long search for a new managing director, we reviewed many candidates with impressive qualifications. Jeff stood out because of his experience helping theaters cultivate their donor bases and developing long-term financial frameworks
to support artistic growth. We have no doubt that Jeff’s leadership will be of value for many years to come.”
Woodward joins DTC from Syracuse Stage in upstate NY, where he has served as managing director since 2008. During his time there, in partnership with Producing Artistic Director Tim Bond, he helped broaden and improve the artistic offerings of Stage’s season, developed an array of marketing, community engagement and education programs that expanded the audience. He also produced two international exchanges with the Market Theatre and the Baxter Theatre in South Africa.
Prior to Syracuse, Woodward was the Managing Director of McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton New Jersey. As a partner with Artistic Director Emily Mann for 17 years, he transformed McCarter into one of the leading regional theaters in the United States and in 1994, McCarter was the recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater.
Woodward also helped lead a capital campaign to build a $14 million addition to McCarter which included a 380 seattheater and two rehearsal halls.
“I am very excited about moving to Dallas and joining Dallas Theater Center,” said Woodward. “The theater is in the midst of an amazing transformation. Kevin Moriarty and the staff have done an extraordinary job in elevating the artistic scope and quality of the productions while expanding the theater’s commitment to the community. The board of trustees, a large
and diverse group of funders, and the audience have strongly embraced and supported this expansion of activity. The city is also in the midst of a transformation and I am thrilled that the arts are being seen as a key part of Dallas’ present and future.”
DTC Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty is looking forward to working with Woodward. “Jeff will bring to Dallas Theater Center his vast experience as a theater administrator, his deep love for the art form, and his impressive leadership skills, which will make him an incredible asset at this exciting moment of growth and transformation for DTC and North Texas. I am
eager to begin working with him this summer to build on the work Heather has done and to continue elevating DTC’s work in our local community and within the national theater field.”
Woodward holds a Bachelor of Arts from Pomona College and Masters of Business Administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He has served as a board member for a number of organizations including ArtPride New Jersey, Theatre Communications Group and League of Resident Theatres. Woodward has also served as panel
chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts. Woodward will begin work at DTC immediately following current managing director Heather Kitchen’s departure in July.
“Being managing director of DTC over the last five seasons has been an enormous honor and privilege for me,” said Kitchen. “It was an ideal capstone to my 24 seasons as a managing director in both Canada and the US. My goal in coming to DTC was to help strengthen the administrative structure and help build its audience and fundraising, and I am proud of the progress we’ve made on both fronts. I am so delighted that Jeff, who I’ve known as a colleague for almost 20years, is picking up the torch to continue that work.”
Jeffrey Woodward Bio:
Jeffrey Woodward most recently s erved as the Managing Director of Syracuse Stage, a professional theater in residence at Syracuse University. Since 2008, he has been a member of the leadership team, with Producing Artistic Director Tim Bond and Department of Drama Chair Ralph Zito, that oversees the operations of Syracuse Stage, a member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and the Syracuse University Department of Drama (SU Drama). Mr. Woodward is responsible for all administrative aspects of Stage’s operations including marketing, fund raising, finance, board relations, Syracuse University relations, community relations, personnel, and the physical plant, and he shares oversight with Mr. Bond of the production and education departments.
During Mr. Woodward and Mr. Bond’s tenure, Syracuse Stage has reimagined and strengthened the relationship with the SU Drama, broadened and improved the artistic offerings of Stage’s season, developed an array of marketing, community engagement and education programs that have expanded the audience that led to balanced operating budgets.
In 2012, Mr. Woodward produced Syracuse Stage’s first international exchange with the transfer of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brothers Size to the Market Theater and Baxter Theatre Centre in South Africa. In early 2015, the South African exchange will continue with the Market Theater production of Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Banzi is Dead directed by John Kani, touring to Syracuse Stage and Princeton’s McCarter Theatre. During Mr. Woodward’s tenure, Stage commissioned and produced two world premieres with Ping Chong and Company, was one of three LORT theaters to produce the internationally acclaimed Scorched by Wajdi Mouawad, produced a major revival of Caroline or Change by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori, and nearly completed producing all ten plays in the August Wilson Century Cycle. Woodward coordinated a number of collaborations with leading regional theaters including Seattle Repertory Theater, Lookingglass Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alliance Theater, Portland Center Stage, and McCarter Theatre.
Prior to Syracuse, Mr. Woodward was the Managing Director of the McCarter Theatre Center, a professional theater and performing arts center located on the campus of Princeton University. As a partner with Artistic Director Emily Mann for 17 years, he transformed McCarter into one of the leading regional theaters in the United States, and in 1994, McCarter was the recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater. Over forty new plays and adaptations received their world or American premieres at McCarter including Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics, Athol Fugard’s Valley Song, Christopher Durang’s Miss Witherspoon, Regina Taylor’s Crowns and Stephen Wadsworth’s adaptations of three plays by Pierre Marivaux. Six McCarter productions, transferred to critically acclaimed runs on Broadway.
Under Mr. Woodward’s leadership, McCarter’s operating budget more than doubled and was balanced for 16 seasons, over $3 million of accumulated operating and capital debt was retired, and the cash reserve and endowment grew from $300,000 to over $12 million. He oversaw a campaign in conjunction with Princeton University to build a $14.1 million addition to McCarter, the Roger S. Berlind Theatre, which included a 380 seat theater, two rehearsal halls, and office and support areas.
While at McCarter, Mr. Woodward served as the President and a trustee of ArtPride New Jersey, the statewide lobbying organization for the arts; a past trustee and Secretary of Theater Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization of non-profit theaters; and the Secretary for the League of Resident Theaters, a national collective bargaining and management association. While President of ArtPride, he successfully led a campaign to restore state funding for the arts after its elimination, and helped establish a new hotel/motel tax that now funds the arts in New Jersey. He has served as a panel chairman and an on-site evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts and as a panelist for the NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights, the Leading National Theatre Program of the Duke and Mellon foundations, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Mr. Woodward was a member of the New Jersey Department of State Transition Team in 2001, the TCG executive director selection committee in 2006, and 2007 search committee for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts executive director.
Jeffrey Woodard is currently on the board of CNY Arts, the regional arts council for Central New York; the University Hill Corporation, an advocacy and service organization of educational, medical and business organizations in the University Hill district of Syracuse; the Arts and Culture Leadership Alliance, an arts advocacy group for Syracuse and Onondaga County; and the East Genesee Regents Association, a neighborhood business association. He is an adjunct professor in theater management for Syracuse University.
He has worked for Hartford Stage Company, Mark Taper Forum, Northlight Theatre and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; has served as a consultant to a number of organizations including the University of Chicago, Court Theatre, Rider University/Westminster Choir College, Arizona Theater Company and the Weston Playhouse. In the spring of 2001, Mr. Woodward, under the sponsorship of the US State Department, traveled to South Africa to serve as a management consultant to the Baxter Theatre Centre and the Grahamstown Festival.
Mr. Woodward received a BA from Pomona College and an MBA from New York University. He lives in Fayetteville, NY with his wife, Lori Ott, and has two sons in college.