News: Woolly Mammoth Appoints Maria Manuela Goyanes to Succeed Howard Shalwitz as Artistic Director

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Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company is thrilled to announce the selection of Maria Manuela Goyanes to succeed co-founder Howard Shalwitz as the organization’s Artistic Director. Goyanes is currently serving as the Director of Producing and Artistic Planning at The Public Theater in New York.

Maria Manuela Goyanes
Maria Manuela Goyanes

“Maria has a compelling vision for the art Woolly can make, the impact we can have with that art, and the ways in which everything we do can galvanize communities,” said Linette S. Hwu, President of Woolly’s Board of Directors. “She embodies the curiosity, creativity, and collaboration that have lived at the core of Woolly’s ethos for nearly 40 years, and she lights up the room with her passion for theater, both in its current form and as she sees it evolving. We’re really looking forward to working with her.”

Goyanes currently oversees the day-to-day execution of a full slate of plays and musicals at the Public’s five-theater venue at Astor Place and the Delacorte Theater for Shakespeare in the Park. In addition, she spearheads the season planning process as well as the planning and integration of The Public’s many artistic programs, including the Under the Radar Festival, Public Works, and special offerings in Joe’s Pub, among others.

“To lead Woolly Mammoth—one of the most radical, inclusive, and vanguard theaters in the country—is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Goyanes. “Howard Shalwitz is a true visionary, and I am honored to build upon his founding legacy of artistic rigor, thoughtful experimentation, and field-wide innovation. I am personally inspired by how Woolly’s values show up both onstage and off, and I look forward to continuing the work of dismantling the barriers between Woolly and the kind of impact it wants to make with its art.”

Goyanes will be leaving The Public after a significant tenure contributing to the success of the theater in a variety of different roles.

“In the two decades I have worked with Maria, I have watched her develop into an extraordinary leader, artist, producer, and human being,” said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “She is, simply, among the very best in the American theater. Joined to a theater as vital and principled as Woolly Mammoth, she will make magic.”

A member of the faculties of both Julliard and NYU, a board member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the former Executive Producer of the 13P playwrights collective, and the former Co-Chair of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Goyanes is a deeply experienced theatrical innovator who will build on Woolly’s legacy.

“I am filled with pride, a sense of awe, and great anticipation as I imagine Woolly Mammoth unfolding under Maria’s leadership,” said Howard Shalwitz. “She has the taste, mind, passion, and fearlessness that will drive Woolly to new frontiers. She’s been a champion for adventurous playwrights and an inspiration for great actors, directors, and designers, and she’s poised to play a leadership role in our city and in our field.”

Goyanes will be joining Woolly’s full-time staff in September 2018. She is currently working with both Shalwitz and Meghan Pressman, Woolly’s Managing Director, to plan the upcoming leadership transition.

“I could not be more excited to have Maria joining us at Woolly,” Pressman said. “She’s one of the most highly regarded artistic producers in the field, and she’s had a huge influence on so many artists making work today. Her values are in incredible alignment with Woolly’s, and I know she’ll make a fantastic partner.”

Goyanes joins Woolly after an exhaustive eight-month nationwide search and a multi-year succession-planning process, both conducted in partnership with Management Consultants for the Arts.

“We are incredibly proud of the open, transparent, and inclusive process we ran,” said Michael Fitzpatrick, Vice President of Woolly’s Board of Directors and the chair of its search committee. “We solicited the broadest level of candid input from the entire Woolly family, inside and outside the theater. The extraordinary diversity—along every dimension—of our large candidate pool reflected a careful design intended to make sure we had the opportunity to find the very best new leader for Woolly.”


MARIA MANUELA GOYANES, the newly-selected Artistic Director of Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, is currently serving as the Director of Producing and Artistic Planning at The Public Theater. In her current position, she oversees the day-to-day execution of a full slate of plays and musicals at the Public’s five-theater venue at Astor Place and the Delacorte Theater for Shakespeare in the Park. In addition, she spearheads the season planning process as well as the planning and integration of The Public’s many artistic programs, including the Under the Radar Festival, Public Works, and special offerings in Joe’s Pub, among others.

For six years before she assumed her current position, she worked as an Associate Producer, managing some of The Public’s most celebrated productions, including Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josephine & I by Cush Jumbo, Straight White Men by Young Jean Lee, Barbeque by Robert O’Hara, and Here Lies Love by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, among others, as well as The Public Works’ productions of The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, The Odyssey, and Twelfth Night.

Earlier in her career at The Public, where she started as a staff member in 2004, she produced The Public Lab productions of work by Roger Guenever Smith, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, The Civilians, Naomi Wallace, Tracey Scott Wilson, and Adrienne Kennedy. She also worked closely with Suzan-Lori Parks and Bonnie Metzgar on the yearlong 365 Plays/365 Days Festival.

In addition to her work for The Public, Maria holds a position on the adjunct faculty of Juilliard, where she co-teaches a producing course, and she curates the junior year curriculum of Playwrights Downtown, the Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU. She has guest lectured throughout her career at Bard College, Barnard College, Brown University, Columbia University, Juilliard, Marymount Manhattan College, the National Theater Institute at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, NYU, Pace University, UCSD, the University of Texas-Austin, and Yale University. Since 2015, Maria has also served as a member of the board of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. From 2006 to 2008, she co-chaired the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab with Jason Grote.

From 2004 to 2012, Maria was the Executive Producer of 13P, an award-winning, innovative theater company that produced new plays by 13 emerging and mid-career writers: Anne Washburn, Winter Miller, Rob Handel, Gary Winter, Kate Ryan, Ann Marie Healy, Sheila Callaghan, Julia Jarcho, Lucy Thurber, Madeleine George, Young Jean Lee, Erin Courtney, and Sarah Ruhl. By the time the company completed its mission, 13P had won three Obie Awards for its productions, along with a Special Citation Obie Grant for the company as a whole, and published an anthology of the collective’s plays.

Maria is a first-generation Latinx-American, born to parents who emigrated from the Dominican Republic and Spain. She was raised in Jamaica, Queens, and has a collection of hoop earrings to prove it. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in 2001 from Brown University, where she received a Susan Steinfeld Award. After graduation, she served as the Associate Producer at Trinity Repertory Company, establishing a family programming series and acting as a liaison to the Latinx community of Providence. Later, in 2007, she received the Josephine Abady Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women.