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American Shakespeare Center actor, director Vanessa Morosco appointed executive director

Rebecca Barnabi
Courtesy of American Shakespeare Center.

The American Shakespeare Center has announced the appointment of Vanessa Morosco as its new executive director.

Morosco was chosen after a competitive and thorough recruitment process led by the ASC Board of Trustees Search Committee. She is set to steer the ASC through the dynamic challenges facing non-profit theaters in the United States today.

Morosco brings more than 20 years of dedicated service to the ASC, where she has been a cornerstone of the Center’s growth. Her diverse contributions include directing productions for resident and touring troupes, founding educational programs for community members of all ages, and establishing leadership training sessions for both international executives and Continuing Legal Education.

“Each word in our name contributes to our distinctiveness as an organization. As the American Shakespeare Center, we share light, share ideas, share joy and share community,” Morosco said.

In the Center’s inaugural season in 2002, Morosco’s journey began as a performer in more than 25 productions on the Blackfriars Playhouse stage. Beyond the ASC, she is recognized globally for her expertise in drama-based training and development. She has worked with multinational corporations and business schools worldwide, addressing crucial topics such as Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, Unconscious Bias, and Change Management through her organization, Impact Drama.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am delighted to announce Vanessa Morosco’s appointment as executive director of the American Shakespeare Center. Vanessa embodies the energy, hope, and joy of our mission to illuminate the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, both classical and modern. Her leadership as Executive Director will help to ensure that the lights in our beautiful theater continue to burn brightly,” Kim West, Chair of the ASC Board of Trustees, said.

Morosco is also the co-founder of the 50/50 Shakespeare Project™, dedicated to advancing gender equity in the workplace of Shakespeare’s plays. A proud member of Actors Equity Association and Stage Directors & Choreographers Society, she holds a master’s in Ethics from Yale University.

“Vanessa Morosco’s skills as an actor, a director, and an educator helped to build the ASC. How fitting — and how lucky for us, for our supporters, for Staunton, for our mission — that this brilliant woman is returning to lead the company she knows and loves so well. As the company’s founding Executive Director, I couldn’t be more hopeful about our legacy and our future than having Vanessa as my successor,” ASC Founder and Senior Advisor Ralph Cohen said.

Morosco will relocate to Staunton from New York City and collaborate closely with ASC Artistic Director Brandon Carter, ensuring the continued fulfillment of the Center’s vital mission.

Tiffany Stern is a professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama and Deputy Director of Institute Research at the University of Birmingham U.K.

“We loved and admired Vanessa Morosco as an actor. Now the best of ASC’s past returns as founding Executive Director. A brilliant thinker, a problem solver, a ‘can do’ person with vision, passion, and practicality, Vanessa will fulfill ASC’s potential now and for the future. Welcome home, Vanessa!” Stern said.

Morosco’s first official day as executive director is today, and ASC invites the public to meet her at an upcoming welcome party.

“Vanessa’s insightful leadership seamlessly aligns with our mission, heralding an exhilarating chapter for the ASC. The prospect of having a partner in this new frontier adds to my anticipation, as together, we embark on an expedition to redefine the future of our beloved organization,” ASC Artistic Director Brandon Carter said.

The American Shakespeare Center is located in downtown Staunton and is the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theater.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.