Jessica Wanamaker Leaves Drama League Director Post After Three Months

News   Jessica Wanamaker Leaves Drama League Director Post After Three Months
Jessica Wanamaker has abruptly left her job as executive director of The Drama League, a post she assumed on Nov. 22, 2004, less three months ago, has learned.

The reason for her departure could not be ascertained. A call to the Drama League was not returned by press time.

Wanamaker is the sister of acclaimed British actress Zoe Wanamaker and the daughter of late actor Sam Wanamaker, the man who single-handed willed London's Globe Theater complex into being.

The Drama League is well known in theatre circles for its Directors Project, which nurtures new directing talents, and for the splashy awards ceremony it holds every spring, in which it treats several dozen artists to a lavish luncheon.

Wanamaker served as an arts administrator with The Wooster Group, The Builders' Association, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. She is the youngest daughter of Sam Wanamaker, the blacklisted American actor who found a new artistic home in England. While living in London, Jessica Wanamaker worked at Grange Park Opera, Southwark Playhouse, the Royal Opera House, and the British Youth Opera.

Julia Hansen, the longtime president of The Drama League, stepped down from the post she held for more than 20 years in 2002. She was succeeded at the time by Patricia S. Follert. Hansen will remain as the organization's first chairman of the board. Hansen, a familiar figure in theatre circles, yearly oversaw the Drama League's annual awards. During her tenure, the league — which for many years simply bestowed honors upon the best play and musical — instigated the practice of naming nominees for the awards before announcing the winners weeks later.

Probably Hansen's primary achievement as president was the creation in 1984 of The Directors Project, a training ground for young, talented theatre directors. Selected candidates get to meet and assist top theatre directors at prominent Off Broadway and regional theatres. Later, they head to NYC to mount an Equity one act play at a leading venue.

Past participants include Christopher Ashley, Mark Brokaw, Michael Mayer, Diane Paulus and John Rando.

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