Spooky Action Theater hires Gavin Witt as Richard Henrich retires

A temporary transition consultant will step in for the company's departing artistic director.

Following months of complaints about harmful leadership practices at Spooky Action Theater (as reported by DC Metro Theater Arts in May and June), Artistic Director Richard Henrich has retired. The news came in a statement today from Floyd L. Norton, Spooky Action Theater board chair:

Spooky Action Theater’s Board of Directors announces that Richard Henrich has retired as of September 5, 2022, after 18 years as Founding Artistic Director of the company.  The Board thanks Richard for his years of leadership and dedication to produce work that deepens the connection between actors and audience at Spooky Action Theater.

Additionally, the Board has hired Gavin Witt to serve as a temporary transition consultant through the next several months to assist the company as it begins to envision its continuing path forward as a unique part of the DC area’s world-class theatre community.

Gavin Witt

A native Washingtonian with longtime ties to the area, Gavin Witt comes to Spooky after most recently serving for nearly 20 years as Resident Dramaturg and Associate Artistic Director at Baltimore Center Stage. In addition to teaching locally at Peabody/Johns Hopkins and currently at Towson University, he has worked nationally and locally as a developmental director and dramaturg on scores of new plays, readings, and workshops.

Gavin Witt states “For years now, I’ve loved the notion of this company’s name—with its suggestion of Wonder and Possibility within a rigorous structure—as it coincides with mission and vision. Now, over the next several months, I’m looking forward to joining with Spooky’s board, staff, and passionate stakeholders from DC’s vibrant theater community to help the company imagine their way forward in exciting new directions.”

The company will next present Jordan Harrison’s Maple and Vine, directed by Stevie Zimmerman, starting September 29 and running until October 23, 2022. Further 2022-23 season productions and new play development projects will be announced at a later date.

Norton confirmed to DC Theater Arts that Henrich will also step down from his positions as board president and treasurer when his term ends on January 24th, 2023. “Henrich’s term on the board runs through January 24th,” Norton tells DCTA. “He will step off the board at that time. This gives the theater time to transition to new leadership in board oversight as it currently transitions to new leadership in day-to-day operations.”

Spooky Action Theater returns to the boards with ‘Maple and Vine’ (news story September 7, 2022)
As Spooky Action Theater digs in, artists and staff members quit (reporting by Nicole Hertvik, June 8, 2022)
Under a cloud: Artists describe toxic work conditions at Spooky Action Theater (reporting by Nicole Hertvik, May 20, 2022)

Spooky Action Theater’s Artistic Director was placed on leave of absence. But is it enough? (reporting by Sarah Marloff for Washington City Paper June 29, 2022)


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