Another ArtsWest departure: Artistic director Christopher Zinovitch

July 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm | In West Seattle news, WS culture/arts | 11 Comments

(April 2013 WSB photo by Nick Adams)
West Seattle’s ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery confirms that artistic director Christopher Zinovitch is out. He had served in that role since December 2011, and had joined the organization a decade before that. ArtsWest has just issued this statement:

After thirteen years at ArtsWest, most recently serving as the Artistic Director, ArtsWest is announcing the departure of Christopher Zinovitch.

Mr. Zinovitch has given us his expertise, his guidance and his outstanding efforts. He has brought wonderful art to our stages as an actor, director and artistic leader. Under his leadership, ArtsWest has experienced box office and critical successes – History Boys, Evil Dead: The Musical, and the recent 33 Variations, to name just a few. He has brought passion and immense talent to every project he has undertaken. ArtsWest’s education program has grown under his tutelage, providing hundreds of young people the opportunity to explore theater and supplying a steppingstone in the career of many professional actors currently working in Seattle and around the country. He was also instrumental in securing ArtsWest the American Theatre Wing’s 2012 National Theatre Company Award, an honor bestowed to only ten theatres nationwide for articulating a distinctive mission, cultivating an audience, and nurturing a community of artist in ways that strengthen and demonstrate the quality, diversity and dynamism of American theater. The decision to part ways with Mr. Zinovitch was very, very difficult and it is with deep gratitude that we wish him well with future pursuits.

ArtsWest remains fully committed to our upcoming season. We are looking forward to a wonderful summer for our education program, followed by our mainstage season featuring a rolling world premiere, a beloved family holiday classic, two contemporary plays, and a tribute to the anniversary of the summer of love.

ArtsWest had already been seeking a new managing director, since – as reported here in MarchLine Sandsmark left after less than a year; she had succeeded Alan Harrison, the 5 1/2-year managing director who left two years ago. We’re following up with a few questions and will add to this story with any additional information we get.

11 Comments

  1. Sad day for West Seattle

    Comment by Sabrina — 1:50 pm July 19, 2013 #

  2. Oh, that’s too bad! We’ve really enjoyed ArtsWest over Zinovitch’s tenure. The plays we’ve seen have been really interesting in content, and beautifully acted and designed: most recently, 33 Variations. We were just going to get our first season subscription, but I guess now we’ll wait until we see what’s up with the new director.
    .
    I’m glad you’re going to find out more about what’s happened. Seems like a real mystery, considering all the success he’s brought to ArtsWest. I’ll look forward to learning more.

    Comment by Pat — 1:55 pm July 19, 2013 #

  3. Without knowing the full story behind this – I have to agree with Pat. The creativity and passion that Christopher brought to the productions and the kids programs will be very much missed. These were the things that solidified our support of Arts West and have kept us subscribing for years now.

    Comment by CP — 2:31 pm July 19, 2013 #

  4. Oh I don’t know about that. Internal drama rarely discloses itself fully to the world, and given how insular the org is with the greater community I would suspect this is someone who was hard to work with. Besides, it’s good to cycle an organization like that once in a while to get some fresh ideas going.

    Comment by Jon — 2:32 pm July 19, 2013 #

  5. yes,chris is a theatrical geniius, but for all the wonder he created, he also alienated many of the talented people who crossed his path. this may be his karma returning so i hope he is learning from the experience and i wish him nonstop wonder and luck. i spent ten yrs with him at artswest and i saw it all…..renee

    Comment by renee — 2:53 pm July 19, 2013 #

  6. Christopher Zinovitch cultivated talent and created shows so magnificent and thought provoking. His presence will SURELY be missed. I’ve enjoyed shows under his direction often times more than productions at 5th ave and Village.

    Comment by Marx — 3:29 pm July 19, 2013 #

  7. I just cancelled my subscription for next season…

    Comment by Jana — 5:20 pm July 19, 2013 #

  8. He was horrible at that job.
    An excellent decision.

    Comment by Marty — 6:47 pm July 19, 2013 #

  9. Our family will really miss you Christopher! Very sorry to see you go.

    Comment by NancyandTim — 11:23 pm July 19, 2013 #

  10. Collaborative creative endeavors require someone at the helm with passion, vision and drive. Christopher provided that and so much more for ArtsWest for many years. We are sorry to see him go and fear we may be remembering the “good old days” at ArtsWest for some time to come.

    Comment by Carlene and Dave — 8:37 am July 20, 2013 #

  11. What the heck? The ArtsWest board only needs to look at the comments on Facebook and elsewhere to see the overwhelmingly positive support for Christopher Zinovitch and everything he has done for ArtsWest. Perhaps someone on the board was upset that their little Jane or Johnny was not given a bigger part in a show? Given all the accolades for CZ, this decision smacks of a personal vendetta by one or more board members who lack artistic vision or any theater experience to realize that CZ is a one in a million talent. I am certain that CZ will land on his feet and wherever he goes he will be taking many ArtsWest supporters (and their donations) along with him, me included.

    Comment by mytwocents — 7:24 am July 22, 2013 #

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