STC names Rebecca Ende Lichtenberg new executive director

The DC arts veteran joins artistic director Simon Godwin to lead Shakespeare Theatre Company in an era of extreme growth.

Rebecca Ende Lichtenberg is the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s (STC) next executive director as announced by STC’s Board of Directors Chair, Anita Antenucci. A longtime arts leader in Washington, DC, Ende Lichtenberg will join STC on February 19, 2024, and lead the award-winning classic theater alongside Artistic Director Simon Godwin as it continues to grow its artistic influence across the U.S. and internationally. Ende Lichtenberg will report to the theater’s board of directors. She comes to STC from DC’s Studio Theatre, where she has served as executive director after joining the company as managing director in 2018.

“Rebecca brings a wealth of experience to her new role at STC,” said Antenucci. “After a broad national search, Rebecca stood out for her strong theater acumen and the quality of her work with DC theaters that Washingtonians greatly admire. The board is eager to begin this new partnership with her.”

Rebecca Ende Lichtenberg. Photo by DJ Corey Photography.

“Rebecca is a smart, warm, and thoughtful leader,” said Godwin. “I look forward to working with her on the myriad challenges and opportunities the American theater will present in the coming years. I am sure she will be a fantastic leader at STC.”

Ende Lichtenberg joined Studio Theatre in 2018 as managing director. There she led financial management, fundraising, marketing, staff management, and oversaw a $20 million capital campaign and renovation. After successfully shepherding the theater through the challenges that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, she led a strategic planning process assessing how to return the theater to a balanced budget, focusing on creating a season model that nets positively, increasing individual giving and growing other revenue streams.

Prior to her time at Studio, Ende Lichtenberg served as a managing director at Theater J, the country’s largest Jewish theater company. During her tenure there, she navigated the theater through a public and controversial transition between artistic directors, while maintaining the theater’s programmatic work and funder support, ultimately leaving the theater in a position of financial strength. Earlier in her career she managed marketing and communications for Theater J and ran earned income and communications for the Sitar Arts Center, also in Washington.

“I feel so fortunate to have been able to build a career in theater leadership while staying in the DC community, which is one of the most vibrant in the country,” said Ende Lichtenberg. “I couldn’t be more excited to take this next step and join the Shakespeare Theatre Company as its executive director. In a short time, Simon has shown himself to be a world-class artist and a visionary artistic leader. I look forward to partnering with him and working with the passionate staff and dedicated Board to redefine what it means to be a classic theater company.”

Ende Lichtenberg joins STC at a time of growth and evolution under the artistic direction of Godwin, who joined the theater in 2019. Buoyed by a string of bold Shakespeare projects including The Merchant of Venice with John Douglas Thompson, and Godwin’s recent Much Ado About NothingKing Lear with Patrick Page, and the upcoming Macbeth starring Ralph Fiennes and Indira Varma, STC is one of the few American theaters that can celebrate subscription audiences having returned to pre-pandemic levels. In addition to assuming the fiscal responsibility for STC, Ende Lichtenberg will oversee the theater’s continued commitment to learning and community engagement.

Ende Lichtenberg replaces Chris Jennings, who left this July after 19 years with STC to head the Manhattan Theatre Club, and will follow Susie Medak, 32-year veteran of Berkeley Repertory, who has acted as Interim Executive Director since Jennings’ departure. Arts Consulting Group led the expansive, five-month nationwide search for STC’s executive director under the direction of Antenucci and a committee of the board of directors.

For more than 35 years, the Tony Award-winning Shakespeare Theatre Company has dedicated itself to being the nation’s premier classical theater. Classical plays are realized best not by originalism but by walking the path Shakespeare himself followed, creating works that spoke to his own contemporary audience. STC tells vital stories in audacious forms, and tells stories that are Shakespearean in the deepest sense, even if (and especially when) they are not written by Shakespeare. By focusing on works with profound themes and complex characters, STC’s artistic mission is to bring to vibrant life groundbreaking, thought-provoking, and eminently accessible theater.


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