The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced today the appointment of Cynthia Rider as its next executive director, succeeding current executive director Paul Nicholson, who retires in December after a 33-year tenure with OSF.
Rider comes to OSF from Kansas City Repertory Theatre, where she has served as managing director since 2009. Prior to her appointment as managing director, she served as the organization’s associate director for advancement and administration for five years. Her accomplishments at Kansas City Repertory Theatre include raising over $7 million for a capital/endowment campaign to inaugurate the Rep’s Second Stage, re-branding the theatre under artistic director Eric Rosen, launching an ambitious five-year strategic plan for the organization and expansion of new work development resulting in world premieres such as A Christmas Story: The Musical! and Venice.
Rider’s experience also includes six years as executive director of Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, where she oversaw significant growth of the organization and its endowment fund while consistently delivering a balanced budget.
OSF Board President Rudd Johnson praised Rider’s experience, intelligence and drive as the perfect mix for the job. “With support and guidance of Management Consultants for the Arts, the OSF board of directors conducted an exhaustive international search for the right candidate to succeed Paul, and Cynthia’s qualities as a fundraiser, administrator, financial steward and charismatic leader brought her to the forefront of a strong pool of candidates.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Cynthia is the perfect person for this vitally important position,” said OSF artistic director Bill Rauch. “Her lifelong passion for the theatre was apparent from the moment we first met, and she already has a deep respect for the history and current work of OSF and our profound relationship with the audience. I can’t wait to begin our collaboration.”
Rider is thrilled and honored by her OSF appointment. “It is an honor to be following in the footsteps of Paul Nicholson, a remarkable leader in American theatre, and I look forward to working with him during these next few months of transition,” said Rider. “The opportunity to join Bill Rauch and the OSF company in building the future of one of the country’s greatest theatres is thrilling. I know there is much we can accomplish together.”
Board President Johnson said that Rider is expected to join the company full-time in early December, which will provide time for a period of transition while working in conjunction with Paul Nicholson. Rider’s husband and daughter will be joining her in Ashland, while her son starts his freshman year at the University of Kansas.
Retiring executive director Nicholson expressed full confidence in the Board’s hiring of Rider. “I can’t tell you how important it is to me to leave this incredible company in the best possible hands when I retire, and in Cynthia I feel we have found a strong leader who can work collaboratively with Bill in guiding this company beautifully and responsibly in the years to come. I very much look forward to welcoming her and to working with her through this transition.”