Alabama Shakespeare Festival names new executive director

Alabama Shakespeare Festival names new executive director
The Alabama Shakespeare Festival has named a new executive director. (Source: The Alabama Shakespeare Festival)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Shakespeare Festival has a new executive director. The theater's board of directors announced Friday Todd Schmidt will join the recently appointed artistic director, Rick Dildine, as co-leaders of Alabama's state theater. Schmidt is currently the managing director of Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey, where he has staged a number of U.S. and world premiere productions.

"The board and staff of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival are delighted to welcome Todd Schmidt as our executive director," said board chair Laurie Weil. "His award-winning expertise and experience in finance, fundraising, and marketing will enable our artistic director, Rick Dildine, to work his magic on stages both within the magnificent ASF facilities and beyond its walls."

Schmidt is an Alabama native, having grown up Jackson and Vestavia Hills. He received his BS in Business Administration from Auburn University and went on to complete an MFA at the prestigious Theatre School at DePaul University.

"I am honored and excited to return to Alabama and help guide the Alabama Shakespeare Festival," he said.

Schmidt also has held management positions at theaters in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Fish Creek, Wisconsin, and he has worked closely with three theater companies in Chicago.

"Todd Schmidt has a track record as a dynamic executive leader," said ASF Artistic Director Rick Dildine. "I am excited to partner with him as we seek to make Alabama Shakespeare Festival a vibrant, transformative theater company where all our communities feel welcomed, engaged, entertained, and inspired."

The job of executive director is a new position at ASF. It replaces the job once known as chief operating officer. Mike Vigilant served in that role until his departure in 2017. Vigilant had worked at the theater for nearly two decades. Ed Crowell later served as interim executive director.

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is among the largest Shakespeare theaters in the world. The professional theater has been located in Montgomery since 1985 when Mr. and Mrs. Wynton Blount donated a performing arts complex in the 250 acre Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park.

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