VA Rep Names New Managing Director

Announcement marks return of dual leadership and additional staff shifts.

In a press release today, Virginia Repertory Theatre announced the hiring of a new managing director and a number of additional significant staff changes.

The company, the largest professional theater in Central Virginia and one of the largest arts-oriented nonprofits in Richmond, has gone through a series of leadership changes since Nathaniel Shaw left as artistic director in 2020. In 2022, the organization adopted a tripartite leadership model with Desirée Roots as artistic director for community, Todd Norris as artistic director for education, and Rick Hammerly as artistic director of programming.

On Aug. 1, Klaus Peter Schuller will assume the duties of managing director, the position previously held by one of Virginia Rep’s cofounders, Phil Whiteway, who was ousted from that position last August. Amy Wratchford, the former managing director for the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, has been serving as interim managing director since October 2023.

Hammerly will take over as sole artistic director, returning the company to its leadership model when Whiteway and cofounder Bruce Miller ran the organization.

Roots’s position has been dissolved; Norris retains his position but will now report to Hammerly. In the press release, chair of the Board of Directors of Virginia Rep, Martha Quinn says, “We believe that a dual leadership model of a co-equal artistic director and managing director is more effective for our organization and look forward to the partnership that Rick and Klaus will form.”

Schuller comes to Richmond with “more than 20 years of experience managing the operations of complex, multi-venue and multi-disciplinary organizations,” according to the press release. Based in Chicago, Schuller served as executive director and producer for Randolph Entertainment from 2018-23. The group produced the dinner-circus-vaudeville attraction Teatro ZinZanni in partnership with Broadway in Chicago.

IMDb lists Schuller as a producer for the 2012 TV movie, “I, Martin Short, Goes Home” and a series of short videos titled, “Facebook of Revelations.”

Today’s press release also quotes Schuller as saying: “I am humbled to have the opportunity to contribute to the incredible legacy the organization has built over the past 70-plus years and its impact on the arts community in Richmond, Central Virginia and beyond.”

The release included the announcement that Jessi Johnson Peterson would fill a newly created role as manager of community, assuming the work previously done by Roots.

“We’re indebted to Desirée for her passion for Virginia Rep and the many contributions she has made to the theatre over the years,” Quinn says. “We are grateful to Rick, Todd and Desirée for their leadership and professionalism over the past couple of years as we emerged from the pandemic and put our best foot forward as we returned to full programming.”

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