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Gord Rand and Moya O’Connell in the Shaw Festival’s 2014 production of The Philanderer.

Emily Cooper

The Shaw Festival has found a new executive director to lead the company as it embarks on an ambitious $45-million building project: Tim Jennings, currently managing director of Minneapolis's Children's Theatre Company (CTC).

Jennings, originally from Georgetown, Ont., has had a long career in theatre management, having worked at the Canadian Opera Company and held the position of managing director at Toronto's Roseneath Theatre and the Seattle Children's Theatre.

In Minneapolis, Jennings helped stabilize the finances of the largest theatre for youth in the United States after a pair of whopping multimillion-dollar deficits. In his short tenure, he brought the CTC back into the black and launched a capital campaign to increase its endowment to $20-million (U.S.), according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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Jennings joins the Shaw Festival – a company with a budget more than two times the size of the CTC – at a time of big changes and ambitious plans.

Jackie Maxwell is winding down her tenure as artistic director, while the Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., repertory company's board of governors recently purchased a tract of land on which it hopes to build two new theatres to replace deteriorating facilities.

Outgoing Shaw Festival executive director Elaine Calder cleaned up the theatre company's finances, erasing a long-standing accumulated deficit. Jennings takes over from Calder in September. The global search for a new artistic director for the festival inspired by the works of George Bernard Shaw continues, with a successor to Maxwell expected to be announced some time this summer.

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