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Signature Theatre Co-Founder Eric Schaeffer Has Stepped Down Amid Allegations of Sexual Assault

Signature Theatre Co-Founder Eric Schaeffer Has Stepped Down Amid Allegations of Sexual Assault

BroadwayWorld reported earlier today that Signature Theatre denied sexual assault allegations against its co-founder and artistic director Eric Schaeffer.

Eric Schaeffer has now announced his retirement from Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre had previously stated that the allegations were "not credible."

The theatre said that they conducted an investigation in May 2018, when the allegations first came to light, and Schaeffer was put on administrative leave pending the outcome.

Schaeffer has released the following statement:

"After thirty years, with the world feeling upside down, I am retiring as Co-Founder/Artistic Director of Signature Theatre.

Three decades ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to create Signature Theatre with Donna Migliaccio. As I look back, I am proud of what we accomplished. We created a loving institution that brought musicals and plays to life in magical ways. Signature became part of an incredible community of the most talented performers, designers, and musicians and writers. This little theater grew from Gunston Arts Center to the beloved Garage to our current home in Shirlington - a truly incredible journey, made possible by the most dedicated and passionate staff in any theatre in America. I will forever be grateful and indebted to each of them, and I have no doubt that the DC theater community will be, too.

Through my years, I worked hard to support this community, its people, and its institutions. By helping to create the Taking Care of Our Own Fund, we established a way to serve our city's theatre professionals in a time of need. I always looked to innovate and create pathways for more voices to be heard, with programs like the Women's Voices Festival. I hope that the next generation of leaders can weather the many storms our profession faces. To do so, it needs to pull together, dedicate itself to the work, and avoid the toxic polarization that damages not just the institutions, but the work itself, the art.

I hope I leave our community in a stronger place as it struggles to find its way forward through the current COVID-19 crisis. I am proud of everything we accomplished, and I look forward to continuing to be this amazing company's biggest cheerleader. I am going to miss our talented staff, the Board of Directors, the many volunteers, the artists and, of course, our audiences. Thirty years was an amazing ride and thanks to everyone who has helped to build Signature into the institution that it is today."

The Signature Board of Directors will commence a search for a new Artistic Director. The Board's recruitment process is committed to ensuring that the pool of candidates reflects diversity in race, gender, ethnic background, and professional experience. This inclusive selection process will be an important part of Signature's responsibility to increased diversity and anti-racism."

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