Shakespeare Festival St Louis - In the Schools

Introducing Tom Ridgely


Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is excited to welcome Tom Ridgely as our new Executive Producer. The appointment, which encompasses both artistic and executive leadership roles, was announced on April 12 after unanimous approval by the Festival’s Board of Directors. Currently serving as Artistic Director of Waterwell in New York, Ridgely will officially join the Festival team on May 21. This appointment is the result of a nine-month national search process, conducted in partnership with Management Consultants for the Arts, with input from the Festival’s Board, artists, staff, and community.

“The Festival Board members are excited that we have found in Tom Ridgely a leader who will provide the artistic vision, entrepreneurial talent, organizational management skills, and inspired drive towards innovation essential to Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ continued growth,” said Penny Pennington, board chair of the Festival. “Tom’s expertise will ensure the Festival continues to be a key contributor to the arts in our region, as well as a catalyst and stage for viewing topics important to our community — all through the lens of performance. We are also personally thankful, and want to recognize the leadership and stewardship of Jennifer Wintzer during this interim period, who has led with great skill the programs we are about to unveil to the community.”

Under Ridgely’s leadership, Waterwell has developed and produced more than a dozen world premieres and adaptations of classics. Known for building innovative community partnerships, his recent work includes the resurrection of a collection of lost WWII-era Frank Loesser musicals Blueprint Specials featuring Broadway and military veterans and presented on the former USS Intrepid as part of the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival. He 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 a director, Ridgely has been nominated for a Drama Desk Award and developed or presented work at the Public, The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Society, Red Bull, and Ars Nova, to name a few.

“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.”

“Tom Ridgely is one of the most exciting talents working in today’s American theater,” said Barry Edelstein, artistic director of The Old Globe. “A visionary stage director and a big thinker, he has a passionate commitment to the idea that theater really matters and that it brings joy and meaning to the life of a city and every community within it. He’s also a warm, approachable, and generous man with a great sense of humor and openness. St. Louis is lucky to have him. I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things he’s going to do there.”

Ridgely will be joining an ambitious and forward-thinking staff whose work reflects the Festival’s mission of producing high-quality, professional programming In the Schools, In the Streets, and In the Park. The Festival’s 2018 season includes a new production of Romeo & Juliet, June 1-24, in Forest Park and the return of Shakespeare in the Streets: Blow, Winds, June 15-16, on the steps of the Central Library in downtown St. Louis.