Dear Friends

Thank you for your steady support for AST over the past several years. I enjoyed seeing you at the shows this past season — and what a great festival it was. Comedy of Errors provided plenty of laughs, Dracula delivered the chills, and Henry V created the illusion of battle with little more than expert ac ting and a fog machine! All in all, the season was a great success, and as the temperatures rose early in Arkansas this summer, Reynolds provided a nice respite from the heat and humidity.

Clearly there are some big chances as we move forward with AST’s 2011 season. Matt Chiorini departed as producing artistic director but will stay on this season as creative director, returning for events that lead up to the season, then returning to run the festival next June. Therefore, know that the quality you have come to expect from AST is assured.

I have taken on the role as Executive Director of AST. Having been involved with AST from the beginning, I know the organization well and have a clear vision of the multitude of possibilities that await us. We feel that this new direction for AST is exactly what this festival needs — a clear focus on the creative elements coupled with a pointed concern for the managerial components. Together, Matt and I will work to increase the visibility of AST throughout the state and region.

Conway as a community is poised to become the center for arts and culture in Arkansas, and the success of AST is pivotal in making that a reality. Professional theater not only provides cultural enlightenment but economic┬ástimulation, as well. Just as the American Shakespeare Center has made Staunton, Virginia synonymous with artistic excellence, AST can and will do the same for Conway. The excellence is already here — we just have to get the word out.

Thank you so much for all that you have done to make AST a success.

Mary Ruth Marotte