Jojo Ruf, a co-founder of the Welders Playwriting Collective and the Coordinating Producer of DC’s Women’s Voices Festival in 2015, will take the reins as the new Managing Director of Theater J, the company announced Wednesday.
Ruf succeeds Rebecca Ende Lichtenberg , who left Theater J to take on identical responsibilities at Studio Theatre.
Ruf’s career in DC theater marks her as an innovator and a creative force. In addition to her work with the Welders and the Women’s Voices Festival, Ruf has been the Associate Executive Director of the National New Play Network. She is currently Managing Director of Georgetown University’s Laboratory of Global Performance and Politics. She is a member of the theatreWashington Advisory Board and co-Chair of its annual theatreWashington summit.
“Jojo is a perfect fit for Theater J,” said Theater J Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr. “She has an extraordinary depth of experience as a leader, and her expertise in international collaboration, fiscal management, and strategic planning will help take Theater J to the next level as we prepare for our most ambitious season yet.”
One of Ruf’s first challenges will be to manage Theater J’s move back into newly renovated 16th Street NW space. The company has been out-of-house for the 2018-2019 as the Edlavitch DCJCC conducts a top-to-bottom renovation of the facility, which houses meeting rooms, an art gallery, athletic facilities and other enterprises as well as the theater. Its next production, Mirele Efros (commonly referred to as “The Jewish Queen Lear”) is scheduled for Georgetown’s Gonda Theater, in the Davis Performing Arts Center near the University’s entrance at 37th and ) Streets NW.
If so, Ruf appears to have the sort of approach necessary to manage such a task. In a 2012 interview with theatreWashington’s Manny Strauss, Ruf gave this advice to newly-minted MFAs — and to 8-year-olds suddenly smitten with theater:
“Check your ego and just be willing to dive in and do anything. No one is above sweeping the floor or folding programs or stacking chairs. And while you should certainly be ambitious and driven and fight for what you want, sometimes the moments of watching and listening from the back can be unexpectedly eye opening.”
Ruf will begin her new responsibilities on January 28.