The Stratford Shakespeare Festival announced Tuesday that Anita Gaffney has been appointed executive director.
She will assume her new post November 1, when general director Antoni Cimolino takes over the artistic directorship from Des McAnuff.
“Anita Gaffney is a star in the world of Canadian arts administration,” says David Goldbloom, chair of the Festival’s board of directors. “We are very lucky to have in our midst such an accomplished leader: someone whose impressive professional qualifications and extensive experience are matched by her deep and abiding love for the Festival.”
Currently serving as administrative director, Gaffney has been with the Festival for 21 years. Her previous positions include director of marketing during the theatre’s years of peak attendance. She designed the Festival’s customer relationship marketing system, which remains in use today. In addition to her marketing expertise, Gaffney is highly regarded for her work in government relations, finance, change management and strategic planning.
Gaffney says she is thrilled by the opportunity and invogorated by the challenge it presents.
“It is a privilege to be able to lead this precious cultural asset alongside our artistic director designate, Antoni Cimolino. I look forward to helping strengthen the Festival at home and to taking it beyond its borders, both physically and digitally.”
Gaffney has mobilized staff around a variety of projects, ranging from major cost-cutting exercises in 2007, 2009 and 2012, to the Broadway transfer of Jesus Christ Superstar. Her efforts to expand the reach of the Festival into the digital world include supporting the production of the films of Caesar and Cleopatra, The Tempest and Twelfth Night, overseeing the renewal of the Festival’s website, the launch of mobile applications and the expansion of the Festival’s overall digital presence.
In 2011, she conducted a study of digital media best practices among arts organizations in Canada, Chicago, New York and London. She was instrumental in galvanizing efforts of the major cultural organizations in Ontario to lobby for a new $27-million Investment Fund to support these organizations during the turbulent economic period between 2010 and 2012.