Shakespeare Theatre Company Announces New Senior Director of Development

The Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) is delighted to announce Laura Willumsen has been appointed as its new Senior Director of Development. Willumsen will work closely with STC's Board of Directors and Executive Director to design and execute comprehensive development strategies to achieve STC's ambitious fundraising goals as the theatre prepares to welcome Artistic Director Michael Kahn's successor in 2019.

Ms. Willumsen joined STC after almost four years at the Smithsonian's Asian Art museums, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, including her final year as its Interim Director of Advancement. During her tenure, she developed the innovative Global Mission Partners program that brought in $1 million multi-year gifts to support priority program areas and secured ongoing support for the contemporary art program. She helped lead the Freer|Sackler campaign to its successful conclusion at $66 million, $11 million above the original goal.

Prior to the Smithsonian, Willumsen served as Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts where she doubled the annual budget and dramatically expanded community outreach. As Executive Director of the Wheeling Symphony, she built a statewide touring program and secured the organization's first $1 million endowment gift. As Pittsburgh Opera's Director of Marketing, she developed its nationally recognized rebranding, reversed the decline of subscriptions and significantly increased revenue in each of five years. As Senior Managing Consultant at TRG Arts, the nation's premier performing arts consulting company, Willumsen pioneered patron loyalty and database strategies that resulted in major revenue gains for over 50 performing arts clients.

Willumsen has been actively involved with the arts throughout her life. As a professional violinist and violist, she performed with the United States Air Force Band, taught at institutions including Trinity College, and continues to study and perform today. Her father, Professor O.B. Hardison, Jr., served as director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, where he founded the original Shakespeare Theatre Group that eventually became the Shakespeare Theatre Company. As Willumsen reflects, "Shakespeare Theatre Company and I grew up together."

"I'm thrilled to join STC at such a pivotal moment in its history," said Willumsen. "Michael Kahn has led the STC brilliantly for 30 years, building the company to its current stature as the premier classic theatre in the U.S. STC's education and outreach programs are also second to none, and I am deeply inspired by the company's commitment to sharing the energy and creativity of theatre with the entire community. As we prepare to welcome a new artistic director in 2019, my goal is to ensure that what Michael has built will live on for generations to come."

"Laura's genuine passion for our work and for the critical role of the arts in society is inspiring to us all," said Chris Jennings, STC Executive Director. "Her vast experience in the non-profit sector combined with her love of theatre and her own personal connection to our company make her the ideal choice to take us to the next level of friend-raising and fundraising."

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