Guthrie Artistic Director Joseph Haj Appoints Jennifer Bielstein as Managing Director

January 5, 2016

(Minneapolis/St. Paul) - Following an extensive nationwide search, Guthrie Theater Artistic Director Joseph Haj today announced that Jennifer Bielstein will join the institution as its new managing director. Currently, Bielstein serves as managing director for Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kentucky’s flagship arts organization which produces a range of more than 20 plays annually, as well as the distinguished Humana Festival of New American Plays. Bielstein will join the Guthrie staff and Haj’s leadership team on April 1, 2016.

“I could not be more pleased to have Jennifer joining us at the Guthrie,” said Haj. “Jennifer is one of the most highly regarded managing directors in the country, and her voice has powerfully influenced the field in recent years. I have had the pleasure of serving on the League of Resident Theatres’ diversity task force with Jennifer and I know her to be a rigorous, thoughtful and principled leader. We are so fortunate to have her join our team.”

Bielstein said, “I am delighted to join Joe Haj and the strong team of staff and board at the Guthrie Theater at this important juncture in the organization’s evolution. I have long admired the Guthrie’s work and look forward to continuing the long-standing commitment to artistic excellence and to deepening the impact of the work on the community.”

With this appointment Haj completes his new leadership structure, a management team consisting of Haj, Associate Artistic Director Jeff Meanza, Director of Production David Stewart, and Director of Development Danielle St. Germain-Gordon. As Managing Director Bielstein will lead the administrative facets of the theater, including finance, human resources, information technology, facilities, contract and labor negotiations, marketing and visitor services.

Bielstein joined Actors Theatre of Louisville as its managing director in the fall of 2006. There she oversaw finance, marketing, fundraising and general operations including human resources, information technology and facilities maintenance for an $11 million operation serving an audience of 150,000 annually. She serves on the boards of Theatre Forward, the Arts and Cultural Attractions Council, Louisville Downtown Development Corporation, Greater Louisville, Inc., and is Vice President of the League of Resident Theatres. Bielstein was recognized with the Pyramid Award of Excellence in Leadership from the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, voted Today’s Woman magazine’s “Most Admired Woman in the Arts” and acknowledged in both Louisville Magazine’s “15 Metro People to Watch” and Business First’s “40 under 40.”

Prior to her role at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Bielstein served as the executive director of Writers’ Theatre. During her time in Chicago, she also worked for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, About Face Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre and Lincoln Park Zoo, where she helped to create and launch the successful Jammin’ at the Zoo series in 1994. She served as an officer of the Board of the League of Chicago Theatres representing 200 area theaters, and as chair of the League’s Marketing Committee she spearheaded the development of Theatre Thursdays, a city-wide program to introduce new audiences to theater. She was also on the boards of the Glencoe Chamber of Commerce, About Face Theatre and the Producers Association of Chicago-Area Theatres. Bielstein holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MBA from Bellarmine University. She will be joined in Minnesota by her husband Shane Spaulding.