Vivienne Benesch, the Obie-winning Twin Cities-connected actor and director, has been named producing artistic director of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She replaces Joe Haj, who, in July, took over at the Guthrie Theater.

Haj praised her appointment in a statement, calling her "an inspired choice."

"Vivienne is a spectacular artist, thinker, and leader," Haj said. "She has a powerful commitment to community, relationships with many of the nation’s finest artists, and a demonstrated ability to nurture and develop early-career artists.”

A graduate of Brown University, Benesch earned her MFA at New York University, where she has taught. Her roles at the Guthrie include playing the sassy and impertinent daughter in Shaw's "Mrs. Warren's Profession." Benesch served for a decade as artistic director of the Chautauqua Theatre Company, a period that overlapped with the tenure of Ethan McSweeny, her former partner. 

"I am humbled with the charge of serving this great company in a time that I believe will see great transformation in the American theater — no longer holding up a mirror to just a narrow view of nature — but to the expansive reality of what the human race actually looks like and experiences today," she said.

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