Mara Manus has been selected as the Executive Director of The Public Theater, an appointment that becomes effective Aug. 19.
Manus, who will be responsible for the finance, development, and marketing and communications departments at the Public, comes to the New York theatre organization after four years at the Ford Foundation. The native New Yorker began her career in Hollywood in low-budget film production, later working for MCA/Universal Pictures and subsequently as senior vice-president of production at TransPacific Films. She also headed the film division of Azoff Entertainment before joining the Board of Trustees of Chrysalis — a nonprofit organization helping economically disadvantaged people to enter or re-enter the workplace — in 1993. She joined the Ford Foundation in 1998 as a national grantmaker.
When she joins the Public, Manus' duties will be vast. She will be responsible for capital projects, board relations, development strategies, and she will also work closely with Producer George C. Wolfe to foster his artistic vision of the Public. In a statement, Wolfe said, "I’m very pleased with the selection of Mara. She joins the institution at an especially exciting time, following one of our most successful seasons. As the institution continues to both expand artistic boundaries and increase fiscal solvency, her spirit, intelligence and wide range of experience are truly welcome."
Manus, who holds a B.A. in Communications from Stanford University and who later attended the executive education program at Harvard Business School, commented, "I’m excited to work with so gifted a director as George Wolfe, as well as with the staff, artists, and Board of Trustees of The Public Theater. And I’m equally excited to lead an institution that gives birth to new voices and brings theatre into the lives of so many New Yorkers. Especially as a native, it is an honor to help lead one of the city’s greatest cultural assets."
The Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival is located in New York City at 425 Lafayette Street. This season, the Public co-produced two Broadway hits: the Tony-winning Elaine Stritch At Liberty and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Topdog/Underdog. —By Andrew Gans