4th Wall Theatre Company's Announces Leadership Transition and Staff Promotions

To launch its 14th season, 4th Wall Theatre Company will implement the final step of a sweeping and strategic leadership transition plan on July 1, 2024.

By: Jun. 04, 2024
4th Wall Theatre Company's Announces Leadership Transition and Staff Promotions
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

To launch its 14th season, 4th Wall Theatre Company will implement the final step of a sweeping and strategic leadership transition plan on July 1, 2024.

Founding Artistic Director, Philip Lehl, will join fellow Co-Founder, Kim Tobin, as an actor and director in residence at the company; current Managing Director and longtime artistic collaborator, Jennifer Dean, will be hired as Artistic Director; and current Development Manager, Catherine Dunaway, will be hired as Managing Director.

The Co-Founders have also been voted in as the two newest members of the 4th Wall Board of Directors, and will originate and co-chair the new Artistic Committee which will serve to advise the Artistic Director in the curation of future programming. This leadership plan will provide artistic and administrative continuity for the company as it transitions from a model of foundership to sustainability, ensuring that the important work of 4th Wall will outlive the founders' tenure.

This carefully planned succession strategy, which was endorsed in a unanimous hiring decision by the Board of Directors, was first set into motion in 2021 when Kim Tobin moved from Co-Artistic Director to work as an artist in residence. Since that time, Tobin has acted in four plays at 4th Wall, directed three plays, and advised on the selection of the company's programming. In the same way, outgoing Artistic Director Philip Lehl will continue to be involved artistically in the company, as he is set to act in both HAMLET and VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE in the upcoming season. The founders' incremental and intentional transition from executives to artists serves as the embodiment of their vision of uplifting professional artists, and furthermore, has empowered the company to cultivate the next generation of leadership talent from within.

In a statement from Lehl, “Kim and I are artists first. We founded this company to create an artistic home that showcased our shared aesthetic and that championed our fervent belief in fair pay for artists. 4th Wall is still our artistic home, but thanks to the enthusiastic support of our community, it has now grown to a size which demands another kind of leadership. I am confident that Jennifer and Catherine are the leaders who will continue to grow this company and carry our founding vision forward because, in fact, they already have.”

Incoming Artistic Director Jennifer Dean's involvement with 4th Wall began ten years ago when she was hired to direct the World Premiere of THE GOD GAME. Since then, Dean has directed five more of the most memorable plays in 4th Wall's history, including the electric WHO'S AFRAID OF Virginia Woolf? which at the time was the company's highest-ever attended production, and two winners of the “Best Play of the Year” award by the Houston Press, LOBBY HERO and THE REALISTIC JONESES. She has also acted in two 4th Wall plays, including her most recent appearance in THE PAVILION this past fall. Her prolific artistic contributions to 4th Wall are second only to the company's founders. In addition to her acute artistic talents, Dean brings a wealth of strategic growth experience to her new role. Under her tenure as Managing Director, 4th Wall has experienced explosive growth, increasing total attendance by 20% and earned revenue by 40% in the company's 13th season.

Incoming Managing Director Catherine Dunaway joined the 4th Wall team five years ago, initially in a dual Marketing and Development role. Since that time, she has specialized in Development work for the company, securing national, state, and municipal grants, support from private foundations and corporations, and gifts from a growing base of individual supporters. She has also overseen the rollout of a new subscription model in this past season which has resulted in an 11% increase in subscribers, bucking national trends and earning an acknowledgement for the company in a recent American Theatre Magazine article. 

Regarding these hiring decisions, Board President Ken Bohan remarks, “Hiring both of these women was an easy decision for the Board. Their existing track record of success in the company speaks for itself, and they have the expertise, vision, relationships, and tenacity to lead this company forward. Combine that with the opportunity to continue to work with Kim and Philip, and you have a true ‘win-win' leadership transition. I couldn't be more excited for the future of 4th Wall.” 

To learn more about 4th Wall Theatre Company, visit www.4thwalltheatreco.com.


To post a comment, you must register and login.