After 29 Years and More than 125 Productions, Co-Founder/Artistic Director to Pursue Other Opportunities

The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) today announces that Artistic Director Jim Warren, who, with Ralph Alan Cohen, founded the organization 29 years ago, is stepping down at the end of the year to pursue other opportunities.

Warren, who directed the ASC’s first show, Richard III, in 1988, has directed more than 125 productions since and guided the organization from startup to international acclaim.

“Helping to lead the American Shakespeare Center for nearly 30 years has been my passion and calling,” Warren said. “But, the time has come for me to pursue other opportunities in theatre, and I’m looking forward to the next act in my career.

“I’m humbled that the vision Ralph and I dreamed up years ago has become Shakespeare’s American Home, a truly one-of-a-kind Shakespeare experience. And I’m grateful to all of those who have dreamed the dream with us, from our amazing actors and staff to our donors and patrons of all ages from all over the world. I couldn’t be more proud of how far we’ve come and the impact we’ve had on so many. I’m excited for the path we’ve charted for the next 30 years.”

Warren and Cohen started what would become the ASC as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express (SSE) in 1988, performing its first show at Harrisonburg, Virginia’s Trinity Presbyterian Church. In 1999, SSE changed its name to Shenandoah Shakespeare (S2) and relocated to Staunton, where two years later it opened the Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre.

Under Warren’s direction, the ASC has performed in 47 U.S. states, five other countries and one U.S. territory.

“It’s safe to say that we wouldn’t be where we are today without Jim’s vision, wisdom, energy and passion,” said Chris Little, chair of the ASC’s Board of Trustees. “We can’t thank him enough for what he’s meant to our organization and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

The American Shakespeare Center is forming a search committee, which will conduct an international search for its next artistic director.