After ten years leading the company to success, Wratchford says it’s “time to bring in new eyes and fresh energy”

Amy Wratchford, Managing Director of the American Shakespeare Center (ASC), announced her departure effective December 31, 2020. Wratchford has served as the Managing Director of the American Shakespeare Center since May 2010.

“Amy has provided invaluable leadership and devoted service to the American Shakespeare Center for a decade,” said Rodney Young, Chair of the ASC Board of Trustees. “Amy’s selfless devotion to the mission and success of ASC has been constant and was never better exemplified than her steady leadership during this most difficult year managing the unprecedented upheaval and disruptions visited on ASC and the theater industry by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board respects and accepts her decision to step down with sadness but with an appreciation and gratitude for all her contributions to ASC and we wish her great success and joy in her future professional endeavors,” said Young.

Wratchford, who joined ASC in 2010, presided over the company’s growth from an annual operating budget of around $2M to a high of $4.2M at the beginning of 2020.  She worked vigilantly to retire $1M of inherited debt and place the company on a sound financial footing, including the creation of three strategic plans, most recently a forward-looking five-year plan that was adopted by the Board in February 2020, a few weeks before the Covid-19 Pandemic forced national closure.

“Amy has had a steady hand on the tiller for a decade of growth and change at ASC and every one of us owes her an extraordinary debt of gratitude for the sacrifices she has made to keep us going,” stated Artistic Director Ethan McSweeny. “Beyond the Playhouse, she has done an incredible job enhancing the vital economic contributions ASC makes to Staunton and the Shenandoah Valley. She will be greatly missed by her colleagues and the many artists that have had an opportunity to work with her,” McSweeny said.

Wratchford’s impact has not been confined to ASC’s walls. During her tenure, she has led advocacy efforts at all levels of government, represented ASC on state and national grants panels, and consulted with organizations across the country. Within the community Wratchford serves on the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center’s Community Advisory Board, Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School Advisory Council, and is an elected member of the Staunton City School Board. Previously, she has served as a member of the Staunton Rotary Club Board and Staunton’s Tourism Advisory Board.

“It has been an amazing ten years,” said Wratchford. “We’ve successfully produced our SafeStart Season under impossible odds and have a strong plan for 2021. It is time to bring in new eyes and fresh energy.”

Onstage, ASC will continue its commitment to safely producing live theatre exploring Shakespeare’s performance conditions. The company’s groundbreaking 2020 SafeStart Season concludes October 18 and plans are underway to present a new version of its annual Christmas Carol this December. Of necessity, 2021 is going to look different offstage. Over the course of the next three months, the company will ramp down full-time staff transitioning toward an intentional “dark” period in January and February while beginning an innovative quarterly budget planning process in which future programming is tied to achieving fundraising benchmarks. ASC looks forward to welcoming audiences back to the Blackfriars Playhouse in the Spring for its hallmark Actors’ Renaissance Season.

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