Williamstown Theatre Festival announced today that its artistic director, Jenny Gersten (inset), will be leaving at the end of this year to become executive director of the nonprofit Friends of the High Line in New York City. The High Line is a linear park created from a 1-mile section of the New York Central Railroad on the Lower West Side of Manhattan that hosts a variety of installations and performances. This was Gersten’s second term at the festival. From 1996 to 2004, she was associate producer under Michael Ritchie. When he left, she applied for his position as artistic director, but it went to actor Roger Rees instead. Rees left in 2007, and his successor, Nicholas Martin, in 2010, whereupon Gersten was offered the position. In her three seasons at WTF, she oversaw the world premieres of “Far From Heaven,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” and Katori Hall’s “Whaddabloodclot!!!,” the American premiere of “Ten Cents a Dance,” a production of “The Elephant Man” starring Bradley Cooper and Patricia Clarkson, and a workshop production of David Byrne and Fat Boy Slim’s “Here Lies Love” at Mass MoCA. In a Globe interview in 2011, Gersten pointed out that Williamstown is the place where she “showed up a single lady and left with two kids and married.” She said in a statement today that she was leaving the festival “with a heavy heart” but that she couldn’t refuse this opportunity to work in her hometown. Gersten added that she will be overseeing WTF’s 2014 summer season.
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