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McAnuff to Head to Stratford Festival

Des McAnuff, the Tony-winning director and producer who is also the artistic director for the La Jolla Playhouse in California, will become one of the three artistic directors of the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, beginning in 2008, his publicists announced on Monday.

McAnuff, who just shared in the Best Musical Tony for Jersey Boys, will collaborate with Marti Maraden and Don Shipley, and the three will be led by General Director Antoni Cimolino. La Jolla Playhouse had announced last week that McAnuff would step down at the end of its next season, in April 2007.

"Des has enjoyed enormous success at La Jolla," Cimolino said in a statement. "Over the past several months, we've started to build some connections to the Playhouse. I'm impressed with the energy of this organization and see many synergies with the Stratford Festival. I hope that we might collaborate on projects in the future."

The Stratford Festival runs from April to November whose primary (but not exclusive) mission is to stage the works of William Shakespeare.

"I consider my role in the rebirth and development of La Jolla Playhouse as the single greatest accomplishment of my career," McAnuff said in a statement, "And I expect that I will always feel that way. But while I greatly enjoy directing new plays and musicals, my first loves are the plays of William Shakespeare. Stratford gives me the much desired opportunity to explore the classic theatrical repertoire while continuing to do new work.

"The fact that Stratford has created a model in which I could also continue my outside projects had a great deal of appeal," he added. "Sharing the Artistic Director position will give me the opportunity to carry on the work I've been developing the past few seasons in La Jolla and also allow me to continue a relationship with the Playhouse."

Playhouse Managing Director Steven B. Libman added, "Des' new position creates the opportunity for us to establish a partnership with one of North America's leading theatres. Both the leadership at the Playhouse and at the Festival have a strong desire to work together on artistic projects. And of course, I am very happy for Des, and especially gratified that he will have an ongoing relationship with La Jolla Playhouse."

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