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Congratulations to Chris Jennings on being named Executive Director of the Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC). David C. Hodgson, chair of the MTC board of directors said, “Chris Jennings brings a wealth of experience to his new role at MTC. After a broad national search, Chris stood out for his strong theater chops, the quality of his body of work at Shakespeare Theatre Company, and familiarity with MTC from his time with us as an Administrative Fellow here in 1996. The board is eager to begin our new partnership with him.”
Upon accepting the position, Jennings said, “I’m thrilled to return home to MTC, where I began my career and was mentored by Barry Grove. I’m truly excited to partner with Lynne Meadow in building on her success and helping to continue to create an artistic home for the most talented artists working in the theatre today. It is thrilling that in the first few months alone, we’ll be working on new plays by Jocelyn Bioh, Qui Nguyen, John Patrick Shanley, and more. It is with mixed emotions that I take this next step after 19 seasons with STC. My time here has meant more to me than words can say. STC is well positioned for the future with dynamic artistic work and the most dedicated and talented staff.”
Jennings is completing his 19th season with Shakespeare Theatre Company, having produced 120 shows. Highlights of Jennings’s time with STC include the construction and opening of Sidney Harman Hall in downtown Washington, D.C., receiving the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award, leading the artistic transition from founder Michael Kahn to Artistic Director Simon Godwin, and successfully guiding the company through the difficult periods of the 2008 recession and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Notably, returning to live performances after the COVID lockdown, he developed a celebrated collaboration with the Nederlander Organization to premiere “Once Upon a One More Time,” which became the biggest-selling show in STC history and is now in previews on Broadway. Under his leadership, STC toured productions to Macau, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom, including to the RSC Complete Works Festival. He has built international collaborations, annually importing high-profile productions from South Africa, France, and the UK, most recently represented by the critically acclaimed and sold-out production of “The Jungle” this spring. During his tenure, STC launched District Shakespeare, a model accessibility program providing every 10th grader from all 53 D.C. schools the opportunity to experience Shakespeare live on stage. Jennings is currently leading a mixed-use real estate project, The Bard, to provide consolidated support including actor housing with an anticipated groundbreaking later this year.
Jennings has served on numerous boards, including Theatre Washington, D.C. Downtown BID, THE ARC Community Center, and the D.C. Arts Collaborative. Before joining STC he served as General Manager of Trinity Repertory Company and Theatre for a New Audience. Chris held positions with Yale Repertory Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Dougherty Arts Center. Jennings was a recipient of an Arts Administration Fellowship from the NEA.
Jennings earned his BFA in Theatre/Music, University of Miami; and MFA in Theatre Management, Yale School of Drama.