The Public Theater will begin conducting a nationwide search for Manus' successor in the coming weeks.
"Mara's leadership, vision and passion for The Public Theater these last six years has been key in revitalizing the institution," stated Spector. "She has helped the organization achieve tremendous growth and stability, including increasing the organization's annual budget from $11 million to over $19 million and more than doubling individual and corporate support. She was also instrumental in returning Shakespeare in the Park to two productions a year and launching an essential capital improvement project."
"It has been an honor to lead The Public Theater, and I feel very fortunate to have worked with the gifted and dedicated people who are a part of The Public's family," stated Manus. "I am very proud of my tenure at this incredible institution, and I have no doubt that The Public will continue to achieve the success we have put in place over the last six years."
"Mara has served The Public with brilliance, dedication and distinction,” stated Eustis. "It has been an honor to work with her. Her six successful years here have positioned us beautifully for the future." Manus arrived at The Public on the eve of its 50th anniversary. She worked on a long-range strategic plan; re-structuring the marketing and development departments; bolstering the staff; growing the Board of Trustees; and developing and executing a comprehensive plan to improve the public spaces of The Public’s landmark building, raising $20 million toward that project.
Prior to serving as executive director of The Public Theater, Manus worked four years at the Ford Foundation as both a program officer for economic development and a program-related investment officer, overseeing a long-term arts-stabilization program involving midsize multicultural institutions, including theatres, museums and dance companies.
Her prior experience includes four years running a nonprofit community-based organization, and 13 years in Los Angeles as a studio executive.
Manus began her career in Los Angeles in low-budget film production, eventually moving to MCA/Universal Pictures, where she served as a studio production executive for six years. There she worked closely with writers, directors, and producers on the development and production of feature films. She subsequently served as senior vice president of production at TransPacific Films, and as head of the film division at Azoff Entertainment. In 1993, Manus joined the board of trustees of Chrysalis, a Los Angeles-based privately supported nonprofit dedicated to helping economically disadvantaged people enter and re-enter the workforce. The following year, she was appointed executive director. During the four years she served there, the organization expanded threefold with the support of new private and public funds.
When she joined the Ford Foundation in 1998, she continued in the field of workforce development, this time as a national grantmaker.
The Public Theater was founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 as the Shakespeare Workshop and is now one of the nation's preeminent cultural institutions, producing new plays, musicals, productions of Shakespeare, and other classics at its headquarters on Lafayette Street and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Public's mandate "to create a theatre for all New Yorkers continues to this day on stage and through its extensive outreach and education programs."
Each year, over 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages, including Joe's Pub and Shakespeare in the Park.