Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has hired Jay Woffington, former CEO of Bridge Worldwide and Global President of Possible Worldwide, as its new Executive Director. Woffington will start with the company July 1.
“After an inspiring Season 18 which included critically acclaimed productions of The Grapes of Wrath, Sense and Sensibility, and Love’s Labour’s Lost, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is poised to accelerate that momentum through the addition of a proven business and organizational leader such as Woffington,” said Brian Isaac Phillips, Producing Artistic Director.
The move follows several solid seasons of artistic success coupled with nearly a 60% increase in ticket sales over the past 5 years. The hiring of Woffington signifies a transformative move by the company to increase the business and strategic capacity of CSC while ensuring continued artistic performance.
“What has always excited me professionally is the opportunity to help a creative organization make a step-change in achieving its vision,” said Woffington, who, as CEO of Bridge Worldwide and Global President of Possible Worldwide, grew the creative marketing agency from one office of 30 people to a global network of over 1,000 people in 10 countries. During his tenure, the agency won coveted creative awards such as two Gold Lions at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity and developed an organizational culture recognized as one of the Top 25 Best Places to Work in America for five consecutive years.
“Over the past few years, Brian has assembled an amazingly talented ensemble and has proved that they can tackle the most challenging creative projects and deliver in a world-class fashion. This makes it an opportune time for me to help ensure the business and strategic capacity of the organization is there to enable this quality consistently while broadening our reach throughout the region.”
CSC Managing Director, Lettie Van Hemert is thrilled about this addition to the management team, adding, “There has been much great work and success in my five years with the Company and we are ready to capitalize on that momentum. Jay not only shares our vision for the future, but he knows how to get us there. With Jay’s inspiration, CSC will become a permanent landmark on the map of Cincinnati’s treasured institutions.”
Woffington is not an entirely new face to CSC, having been on the Board of Trustees for the past 6 years. Woffington also has been a key member of the Executive Committee of the Board, leading the development of the group’s long-term strategic plan.
“I’m very passionate about CSC’s commitment to producing inspired classical theatre unseen elsewhere in our entire region and at the same time impacting the community through our Education Program and Community Parks Outreach. This ‘art-community impact’ combination is not only rewarding to me personally, but it also offers a glimpse of the way professional theatre can make a bigger difference in our city. CSC offers a perfect blend of my leadership experience and business skills and my passion for theatre.”
Woffington’s theatre bug is credited to his father, a high school drama teacher and play director in Pittsburgh. “As a second grader, I was a child extra in my dad’s production of To Kill a Mockingbird (a classic CSC will undertake this September).” Locally, Woffington has acted at several community theatres as well as the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts and New Edgecliff Theatre (alongside CSC regular Kate Wilford in Death of a Salesman). Jay has also directed two CEA-award winning musicals for Footlighters in Newport, KY and will be directing Our Town there this fall.