Heather Hitchens, American Theatre Wing

TITLE: Executive Director


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PROFILE: As Executive Director of the American Theatre Wing, Heather A. Hitchens oversees one of the most famous arts awards shows, the Tonys, named after Antoinette Perry, an actor, director and co-founder of the organization. Year round though, Hitchens is responsible for the American Theatre Wing's grant-making, professional development, educational, and media programs. These areas include the National Theatre Company grants, Jonathan Larson grants, "Working In The Theatre," (a series of televised discussions with theatre leaders), and SpringboardNYC, a summer intensive course for college students transitioning into careers in the performing arts.

Her official bio shares: 

Heather A. Hitchens is a nationally recognized arts leader with nearly 20 years of performing arts administration, policy, and program development experience.

Hitchens began her tenure as Executive Director of the American Theatre Wing in July of 2011. As the Wing’s chief executive officer, she is charged with maintaining its brand of excellence in the Tony Awards as well as overseeing and shaping its other vital grant making, professional development, educational, and media programs.

Hitchens came to the Wing after a four-year term as Executive Director of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), the largest state arts agency in the country. An appointee of Governor Eliot Spitzer, Hitchens oversaw the distribution of over $123 million in grants to more than 2,000 New York State organizations in every artistic discipline while at NYSCA. She also fostered closer collaboration and partnerships between the arts and other sectors including tourism, economic development, and parks, and in collaboration with a number of public and private funding sources, launched the New York State Cultural Data Project, which is developing more comprehensive and reliable data about the impact of the arts in the state.

Prior to her leadership of NYSCA, Hitchens served as President of the renowned national arts service organization Meet The Composer for nearly a decade. There, she revitalized the organization’s artistic programs and strengthened its financial standing by establishing a multi-million dollar endowment fund and fostering a many-fold increase in individual giving. Hitchens also served as CEO of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and worked in the development department of the American Music Theatre Festival.

A percussionist since the age of six and a lifelong lover of the performing arts, Hitchens holds a M.S. in Arts Administration from Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA and a B.M. in Percussion/Music Business from DePauw, Greencastle, IN.