Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has appointed Drama Desk-nominated director, producer, and educator Tom Ridgely as the Festival’s new Executive Producer. He will assume his responsibilities, which encompass both artistic and executive leadership roles, beginning May 21.
Ridgely is currently the artistic director of Waterwell, which he founded in 2002 with Tony-nominated actor Arian Moayed. Waterwell's recent productions include the revival of a collection of the lost WWII-era Frank Loesser musicals called the Blueprint Specials. The musicals were presented on board the former USS Intrepid as part of the Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival, featuring Broadway and military veterans. Last Spring, Ridgely also adapted and directed Waterwell's dual-language (English/Farsi) Hamlet, which was designed and performed by a company of predominantly Middle Eastern and South Asian artists.
As artistic director of Waterwell, he also oversees the Waterwell Drama Program at the Professional Performing Arts School. In partnership with the Department of Education, the program offers conservatory-style classes to New York City public school students free of charge. As a director, he's worked with numerous Off-Broadway institutions and theatres around the country.
"I simply couldn't be more honored or thrilled that the board has entrusted me with leading this next exciting phase in the life of the Festival,” Ridgely said. “It is a dynamic and innovative organization that has woven its way into the fabric of this vibrant American city. The Festival’s history of community engagement, and commitment to making Shakespeare accessible to all St. Louisans, is as radical as it is necessary. Building on and extending that legacy will be a tremendous privilege."
Ridgely succeeds Rick Dildine, the festival's previous director who left in August to head Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Jennifer Wintzer has been serving as the interim producing director; she is also the director of community engagement and education and she will resume her role in that position in May.
For more information on the Festival and its upcoming season visit SFSTL.com.