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Christopher Hanna, associate professor of theatre arts and theatre program director at Old Dominion University, has been named artistic director of the Virginia Stage Company (VSC). Hanna will continue his duties at Old Dominion as he assumes this new role in January.

"I am very pleased that Christopher Hanna's talent, experience and inspired creativity could be placed at the service of the Virginia Stage Company," said ODU President Roseann Runte. "I am delighted that VSC and ODU would have this opportunity to work in close collaboration."

"Virginia Stage Company is thrilled to have secured Chris Hanna to serve as our Artistic Director," said Charles V. McPhillips, president of the VSC Board of Trustees. "With Chris...we have a powerful team of experienced theater professionals whose...talents will move Virginia Stage Company into a new era of exciting theater for the entire Hampton Roads area."

Hanna, who joined the Old Dominion faculty in 1996, served as the associate artistic director at VSC from 1983 to 1991. During that time he directed plays by Williams, Shaw, O'Neil and Churchill on the main-stage of the Wells Theatre and coordinated the company's New Plays Program. He also directed the premieres of works by Harry Kondoleon and Allan Havis, which earned VSC and the authors awards from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation of the Dramatist Guild, CBS Television and HBO.

He began his career at Hartford Stage Company while earning a bachelor's degree in theatre and English from Trinity College. His first New York assignment was as assistant to producer Joseph Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival, where he worked on the festival's Broadway productions of "A Chorus Line" and "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enough." He received a master's of fine arts degree in directing from the University of California, San Diego, under the late Alan Schneider and followed Schneider to London as the assistant director of the world premiere of Samuel Beckett's "Rockabye" (subsequently performed at both the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain and La Mama, E.T.C. in New York City). Hanna stayed in England to serve as a literary assistant at the prestigious Royal Court Theatre, and toured to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with the avant-garde British company Lumiere and Son.

Upon returning to the United States, Hanna served as assistant director at John Houseman's The Acting Company on the national tours of "Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape," "Come and Go" and "Play." He directed the premiere of Frank Higgins' "Never Say Die Off-Off Broadway," and carried out support assignments for the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. In 1989, Hanna began a long-term relationship with the Chautanqua Conservatory Theatre Company in upstate New York as a guest director, where he also served as the Artistic Associate for the Company from 1992 through 1996.

From 1991-1993, Hanna served as Resident Director for the Drama Division of the Julliard School, directing the work of Nikoli Erdmann, Maurice Hennequin, George Bernard Shaw, and Chekhov. While at Julliard he served on the drama faculty and co-taught script analysis with Pulitzer-winning playwright Tony Kushner.

This article was posted on: November 5, 2004

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