Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Southwest Shakespeare Announces New Leadership

Southwest Shakespeare Company Announces Appointment of Laurie Goldstein as Board President, and Grant Mudge as Executive Director
 Southwest Shakespeare Company (SSC) today announced two leadership changes. The board has elected Laurie Goldstein President of the Board of Directors, and appointed Grant Mudge to the position of Executive Director beginning with its 2023/24 Season, which is the company's 30th anniversary. A well-respected and renowned leader of Shakespeare companies across the US, Mudge succeeds Mary Way, who stepped away from the position last year.
A winner of the “Star of Broadway” award for her service to ASU Gammage, Goldstein brings forty years of experience in leadership roles as an engineer for Motorola and NXP Semiconductor. A philanthropist and tireless advocate for the mentally ill, Goldstein co-founded the Association for the Chronically Mentally Ill (ACMI). She succeeds Rebecca Driggs of Camelback Hotel Corp. as president of SSC’s Board of Directors.

“We are so thrilled Grant is taking this leadership position for the company,” Goldstein said. “His knowledge of the plays and ability to create programs that connect youth to classical theatre is inspiring,” adding, “I look forward to working with him to support our professional stages and in reimagining SSC’s education and community engagement through his innovative programs.”

Raised in Arizona, Mudge returns to the Valley with a vibrant three-decade career in advancing the works of classical theatre and Shakespeare in particular. Most recently he served as Mary Irene Ryan Family Producing Artistic Director of Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, providing budgetary, staff, and artistic oversight for over ten years. Prior to Notre Dame, in Virginia he founded the Richmond Shakespeare Festival at Agecroft Hall, which he led for more than fifteen years. Mudge has produced, acted in, and directed more than 150 productions, including most of Shakespeare’s plays.

“I am grateful beyond measure to the board, and most especially to the audiences, artists, staff, students, and volunteers,” Mudge said. “To serve these communities by leading SSC into its second thirty years is nothing short of the honor of a lifetime.”

A prolific educator and champion for expanding audiences for theatre through diverse casting and education, Mudge has created programs, and led classes workshops, and intensives in juvenile justice centers, schools, and universities across the country, 28 states in all. For the SSC, Mudge will also serve as Director of Education and Community Engagement, expanding the company’s long tradition of service to schools and community organizations.

Citing a desire to continue touring internationally and across the US with her signature tour de force one-woman show, Becoming Othello: A Black Girl's Journey, Producing Artistic Director Debra Ann Byrd is stepping away from her position at the company. Byrd will perform the powerful work for Arizona audiences in November as part of SSC’s 30th Anniversary season at the Mesa Arts Center (MAC). Other productions on the season will be held both at the MAC and Taliesin West, and will be announced in August.

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