DC Artswatch: 6 New Leaders

The announcements of new D.C. arts leaders have been coming fast and furious. Here are six of the latest.


On Aug. 1, 2019, following the “Grand Finale Season of Michael Kahn,” artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company since 1986, Simon Godwin will don STC’s creative crown. Associate director of the National Theatre of Great Britain, which operates three London theaters on the south bank of the Thames, Godwin earlier held associate director positions at the Royal Court Theatre and the Bristol Old Vic. In the coming months, he willbe planning STC’s 2019-20 season while continuing to direct productions elsewhere,notably an “Antony & Cleopatra” with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo at the National Theatre and a “Timon of Athens” starring Kathryn Hunter as Timon at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Godwin has a degree in English from Cambridge University and later studied physical theater and “devising” at the London International School of Performing Arts. His Royal Shakespeare Company version of “Hamlet” with Papaa Essiedu, the first black to be cast as Hamlet in an RSC production, came to the Kennedy Center last May as part of an international tour.

Dana Marsh conducting the Washington Bach Consort. Photo by David Betts.


The new artistic director of the Washington Bach Consort, founded in 1977 by J. Reilly Lewis, who died in 2016, is Dana Marsh, associate professor of music and director of the Historical Performance Institute at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In 2016, he launched an annual conference at IU, “Historical Performance: Theory, Practice and Interdisciplinarity,” that has attracted scholars and performers from a dozen countries.Trained as an organist at the Eastman School of Music — he has served as assistant director of music and director of chapel music at Girton College Cambridge and as canon organist and director of music at Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis — he also studied singing, performing as a countertenor with many ensembles. In addition, he earned a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in historical musicology at Oxford.

Maria Goyanes. Courtesy Woolly Mammoth.


Maria Manuela Goyanes has joined Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company as artistic director, succeeding co-founder Howard Shalwitz. Previously, she was director of producing and artistic planning at New York’s Public Theater. Earlier, she was an associate producer at the Public, managing such shows as “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Straight White Men” by Young Jean Lee, and “Here Lies Love” by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim. Currently an adjunct faculty member at the Juilliard School, from 2004 to 2012, she was the executive producer of 13P, an award-winning company that produced new plays by 13 emerging and mid-career writers. Goyanes, whose parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic and Spain, was raised in Jamaica, Queens, and earned a B.A. from Brown.


On Dec. 10, Chase F. Robinson, currently president of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where he is distinguished professor of history, will become the Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art,the Smithsonian’s national museums of Asian art. He succeeds Julian Raby, who retired last December. A scholar of Islamic history and culture who received his bachelor’s degree from Brown and his doctorate from Harvard, he was a member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford from 1993 to 2008. The most recent of the nine books he has written or edited is “The Works of Ibn Wadih al-Ya’qubi: An English Translation,” published last year, a co- edited, three-volume set of translations of some of the earliest works of history and geography in Arabic.


The Newseum, the mission of which is “to increase public understanding of the importanceof a free press and the First Amendment,” named Vice President of Exhibits Carrie Christoffersen the museum’s new executive director, effective next month, when current president and COO, Scott Williams, leaves to head Discovery Park of America in Tennessee. Formerly curator of collections, she was part of the original team that opened the Newseum in 1997. Christoffersen has a B.A. in art history and American culture from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in American studies from George Washington University with a concentration in material culture and museum studies. Newseum President and CEO Jeffrey Herbst resigned in August of 2017.


Strathmore President Monica Jeffries Hazangeles added CEO to her title on Sept. 1, taking over from Eliot Pfanstiehl, who founded the North Bethesda performing arts center officially known as Strathmore Hall Foundation in 1981. Hazangeles joined Strathmore in 1994, helped to raise $100 million to build the Music Center, which opened in 2005, and was named president in 2011. Trained as a flutist, she completed a bachelor of music degree at Florida State, a master of music degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a master of arts degree in arts management at American University, receiving AU’s alumni achievement award in 2014.


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