Managing director Tim Jennings will leave the Children's Theatre Company in September to become executive director at the Shaw Festival Theatre in Ontario. Jennings spent only a few years in Minneapolis, but his tenure was crucial in righting a financial crisis at the nation's largest theater for youth.
The Shaw is a prestigious company that is among the largest nonprofit theaters in North America. Based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, it has an annual budget of $30 million (compared to approximately $12 million at CTC), four historic stages and a company of more than 65 actors.
Jennings came to CTC in early 2012 from Seattle Children's Theatre. CTC at the time had experienced rough financial sledding, with deficits of $3.8 million in 2009 and $2.2 million in 2010.
During his term, the company stabilized and posted surpluses. A capital campaign was launched to raise the endowment to $20 million by the time the theater celebrates its 50th anniversary later this year.
"I leave here truly enriched by my experiences and have been honored to be embraced by a community that leads the nation in recognizing the importance of theater, culture and the arts," Jennings said in a statement.
He is board treasurer of Theatre Communications Group and also serves on the board of the Minnesota Theater Alliance.
Peter Brosius, CTC's artistic director, said Jennings built financial stability and deepened ties to the community while "enthusiastically supporting the artistic work."
The appointment returns Jennings to his Canadian roots. He spent eight years as managing director of Roseneath Theatre, a youth-focused touring company based in Toronto. He is a graduate of Humber College, also in Toronto.
The Shaw Festival has been headed by artistic director Jackie Maxwell since 2003. Jennings succeeds Elaine Calder, who is retiring. The troupe focuses on the work of George Bernard Shaw but also contemporary works. Its current season, for example, includes work by Caryl Churchill ("Top Girls"), Tony Kushner ("The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide") and Neil Simon ("Sweet Charity").
Maxwell will step down next year so Jennings will be involved in the search for a new leader.