TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has selected Debbie Chinn as Executive Director, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). She will begin her tenure on November 15, 2022.
Debbie Chinn is an accomplished arts activist, non-profit consultant, entrepreneurial CEO, and published author whose prominent career in theater and performing arts spans over 30 years. Prior to joining TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Chinn served as Managing Director for Anna Deavere Smith’s Pipeline Projects, a sequel to Smith’s film and play Notes from the Field. A committed professional, Chinn has held executive roles in the most renowned cultural institutions. In her position as Executive Director of Opera Parallèle, Chinn refreshed the organization’s institutional vision and devised an effective strategic plan that introduced comprehensive models for community engagement. As the Executive Director for The Carmel Bach Festival, Chinn expanded the festival’s visibility beyond its summer season by implementing year-round programs and educational activities. Chinn also previously fulfilled leadership roles with Philadelphia Orchestra Association and Cal Shakes, amongst other organizations.
Chinn served on the boards of Theatre Communications Group, Association of California Symphony Orchestras, and Theatre Bay Area. Her current affiliations include the Playwrights Foundation and San Francisco Community Music Center. Chinn authored the book Dancing in Their Light, A Daughter’s Unfinished Memoir that reflects on ways in which her upbringing as a first-generation Chinese American informed her aspiration for philanthropy and inclusive business practices. Chinn holds a bachelor of arts in theatre from the University of Southern California. She is also a graduate of the Executive Program for Non-profit Leaders from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
In making the announcement, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Artistic Director Tim Bond said, “I have admired Debbie Chinn from afar for many years and am excited to begin our partnership. I am energized by her passion, uplifted by her life story, and inspired by her innovative perspectives. Debbie’s leadership will be transformational for TheatreWorks as we embark on this next phase of our 52-year journey.”
TheatreWorks Board of Trustees Chair Holly Ward added, “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we welcome Debbie’s infectious enthusiasm and energy as she returns to regional theatre at this crucial time in our history. We feel so lucky to have engaged Debbie at this juncture, fresh from her important work with Anna Deavere Smith, which inspired Debbie’s deep reexamination of the role theatre can and should play in our modern lives. Her experience in community building, as evidenced by her extensive work with the Carmel Bach Festival in expanding its reach into the nearby Salinas Valley, gives us confidence that she will provide the outreach we are looking for to further engage our entire Bay Area Community. This partnership between Tim Bond and Debbie Chinn is exactly what we hoped for, to boldly lead TheatreWorks into its next era.”
“My admiration for TheatreWorks is now in its 4th consecutive decade. Since moving to this region in the early 1990’s, I have long been aware of TheatreWorks’ consistent spirit of artistic innovation and commitment to providing a creative home for artists, artisans, and the greater community,” said Debbie Chinn. “This is an exhilarating moment for all of us in the arts industry as we come together to design a whole new model for what it means to be a regional theatre and a meaningful member of the communities that we serve. I am eager to return to my beloved theatre roots, to partner with Tim and this dynamic team, and to make history along the way.”
“Congratulations to the search committee, board, and staff of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley on their selection of Debbie Chinn as Executive Director,” said ACG Vice President Dámaso Rodríguez. “Chinn is an inspiring leader who will build upon the theater’s remarkable legacy and cultivate a creative, supportive, and accessible environment to bring artists, art, and audiences together.”