Delaware Shakespeare has selected a familiar face and a newcomer to lead the 21-year-old group.
They are Mariah Ghant, artistic associate and literary manager for the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, as artistic director and Robert Tombari, program director of Goshen (Indiana) Theater, as managing director.
When David Stradley decided to resign as Del Shakes artistic director, the Del Shakes board decided to open two leadership positions.
The artistic director “provides artistic leadership by supervising and implementing the artistic, production, community engagement and education work of the company; and contributing to marketing, communications, board development and fundraising,” according to the job posting.
The managing director runs the business, according to the job posting, including overall management; sales and marketing; budgeting and financial management; contract administration; human resources; information systems; ticket sales, concession, and front of house oversight; board relations; and contributed income.
Both report to the board of directors and will soon announce plans for the 2024 season.
Ghant played Hippolyta/Titania in the company’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Rodney Square and last summer had the title role in “Macbeth.” She has served a term on the Delaware Shakespeare Artistic Squad.
“In 2020, Del Shakes created the Artistic Squad, a rotating collective of BIPOC mid-career theatre artists who have provided programming and management support,” Del Shakes said.
She has held various arts administration roles in Philadelphia, as well as being a former Arden Theatre Company apprentice, a member of Theatre Contra and an improviser with ComedySportz Philly. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, she received a BA in drama from Vassar College.
On www.mariahghant.com, she has tabs for being an actor, teacher, dancer and writer. On her Wilma bio, she says she also enjoys “watching terrible reality TV. Mariah continues to pursue her passion for creating art that is accessible for all and provides opportunities for those otherwise underrepresented to have a voice.”
Tombari has been the program director of Goshen Theater since 2022. He and his partner, Peter, are from Spokane, Washington, where he co-founded The Spokane Shakespeare Society, served as board president of Stage Left Theater and was the executive director of Spokane Ensemble Theatre. He has served on the board of Goshen Pride and is a board member/production team member of The Cursed Players in Los Angeles. He received his BA in performance from Boise State University and an MFA in acting from The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
“I love theater just in general. Obviously!” he wrote in a Goshen Arts Council website.
“I have been working in theater for as long as I can remember. I’ve been acting professionally since I was an undergrad, so for at least 12 years now, and I work in all sorts of mediums.”
New initiatives for Delaware Shakespeare
With a new split in duties, the board is asking the artistic director to implement three new initiatives:
- Develop long-term partnerships with three Community Tour partners, including offering free attendance at the Summer Festival and offering one additional engagement opportunity with each partner.
- Complete a feasibility study of Rodney Square as an ongoing production venue and of potential shifts to Summer Festival timing.
- Pilot new accessibility efforts, with options including performances in American Sign Language, audio-described performances or relaxed performances.
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