Philip Sneed will leave his position of producing artistic director at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival at the end of January, the Camera has learned.
Sneed, who has helmed the festival since 2006, will become executive director at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities in February.
Timothy Orr, now associate producing director for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, will serve as interim producing artistic director beginning Feb. 1.
The festival is scheduled to produce five plays this summer and operates under the eye of the University of Colorado's College of Arts and Sciences.
"I have recommended that the College conduct a national search for a new PAD," Sneed wrote in an e-mail, "with the goal of having someone in place by the end of the 2013 summer season."
The Colorado Shakespeare Festival was founded in 1958. In recent years, the summertime festival ran into financial difficulties, amassing a nearly $1 million deficit between 2007 and 2009. The funding issue led to a restructuring and greater oversight by the College of Arts and Sciences.
Artistically, Sneed spurred the festival to grow beyond the bounds of Shakespeare.
"We're going to miss Philip," said Kathryn Keller, president of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival board of directors. "He really took the festival to new levels of international recognition."
Under his watch, the festival produced a holiday show for the first time in its history -- though it ended that practice after 2011 for financial reasons. The festival also regularly staged works by authors other than Shakespeare during Sneed's tenure. Its 2009 version of "To Kill a Mockingbird" was widely praised by critics and earned a prestigious Ovation Award from the Denver Post for its director, Jane Page.
Most notably, Sneed engineered a joint production of the Russian comedy "The Inspector General" in Boulder in 2011. The show was directed by Efim Zvenyatsky and featured members of Zvenyatsky's Maxim Gorky Theatre, located in Vladivostok, Russia.
Last summer, noted Shakespearean director Tina Packer performed her cycle of plays about Shakespeare and women titled "Women of Will" at the festival. The cycle is scheduled to debut in New York later this month.
Sneed was to direct this summer's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Instead, longtime Colorado Shakespeare Festival actor and fight director Geoffrey Kent will direct the comedy.