Metro Weekly

Shakespeare Theatre Company picks Simon Godwin to succeed Michael Kahn as artistic director

British director succeeds Kahn, who has helmed STC since 1986, for the 2019-2020 season

Simon Godwin — Photo: Shakespeare Theatre Company

The Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) has announced that Simon Godwin will succeed Michal Kahn as the company’s artistic director.

A British director whose credits include associate director of London’s Royal Court Theatre and and his current role as associate director of the National Theatre of Great Britain, Godwin will step into the role in August 2019 and has already started to work with STC’s artistic team to plan out the 2019-2020 season.

“Simon is widely regarded as a star of the next generation of artistic leadership,” said STC Board Chairman Michael Klein. “He was chosen after a nine-month global search, from a broadly diverse pool of candidates, because of his artistic excellence and proven ability to conceptualize and curate bold, energetic and innovative theatre.

“Over the past eight years he has directed nineteen productions of Shakespeare and other plays in leading theatres throughout England and the United States, including the Globe, Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre, Kennedy Center and the Royal Court.”

Godwin credited his recent work with the decision to make the move to D.C., including a production of The Cherry Orchard staged at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet, which toured at the Kennedy Center earlier this year.

“Working in the U.K. for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the Royal Court, I felt a natural synergy with STC’s exceptional work,” Godwin said in a statement. “Michael Kahn has built a strong legacy by creating one of the leading classical theatres in America and transforming the arts scene in Washington, D.C. I look forward to building on his enormous success by continuing to create high quality, exciting, inclusive and diverse theatre that welcomes all audiences.”

Godwin takes over from Kahn, who has helmed STC since 1986. His work transformed STC into a classical theater powerhouse, bringing national recognition to the company — in addition to a Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2012 and a raft of local theater awards — and helped raise the overall profile of D.C. as a place for quality theater.

Kahn announced his retirement last year, saying he felt it was time to step down after “three fruitful and challenging decades” to “let a new energy and creative talent take [STC] into the next era.”

“Despite his many commitments Simon is eager to plan his first season,” Kahn said in a statement. “It’s important to me and him that his debut season is his own, rather than one he inherits and is committed to deliver. He has some wonderful ideas and I’m looking forward to supporting him in any way I can to help him achieve his vision.”

Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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