Director Ethan McSweeny. Photo by Alexander Berg.

Inventive, Tony-nominated director Ethan McSweeny, who staged nine productions at the Guthrie Theater over the last two decades, has been appointed artistic director of the American Shakespeare Center (ASC) in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

The 30-year-old company, which styles itself as “Shakespeare’s American home,” performs in a replica of the Blackfriars playhouse, Shakespeare’s winter home that was funded by King James I.

ASC has an annual budget of just over $3 million and produces year-round.

“I believe the ASC can be the most versatile, facile, and adept company of Shakespeareans the world has seen since the King’s Men,” McSweeny said in a statement.

During the twenty-year tenure of Joe Dowling, McSweeny proved adept at handling both classic and contemporary plays. His memorable Guthrie shows include John Guare’s “Six Degrees of Separation,” Christopher Hampton’s “Tales from Hollywood” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

In 2000, McSweeny won a Drama Desk award for his Broadway production of Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man,” which also garnered a Tony nomination.

McSweeny is the former co-artistic director of the Chautauqua Theatre Company, a position he shared with Vivienne Benesch. She, in turn succeeded current Guthrie artistic director Joseph Haj after he was hired away from PlayMakers Rep in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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