John Dodd

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Simpson selected to lead Texas Shakespeare Festival in theatre’s 35th year


Kilgore, Tex. — Sept. 15, 2020 — 

For the first time in 35 years, East Texas' only professional theatre has a new Artistic Director.


Kilgore College has hired Texas Shakespeare Festival veteran Meaghan Simpson to lead the organization following the retirement of its founding Artistic Director, Raymond Caldwell August 31. 


Simpson stepped into her new role this month after coming on board in 2013 as TSF’s Associate Artistic Director and Associate Casting Director. She was initially hired to join the acting company in 2009 and has since served as an actor in more than 20 productions over 12 years. Kilgore College held a nationwide job search to fill the position of Artistic Director, interviewing candidates from coast to coast. According to KC President Dr. Brenda Kays, “Meaghan came out as the top candidate with her vision for the festival, her commitment to insuring its longevity, and her willingness to partner TSF with the KC Theatre Department as part of the College’s mission.” In recent years, Simpson has worked directly with Caldwell to learn firsthand everything that goes into season selection, planning, hiring, and casting, as well as the execution of the summer season once the company arrives. 


11-year company member, Matthew Simpson, whose position is supported by the Texas Shakespeare Festival Foundation, will continue to serve as Director of Development and Associate Artistic Director, overseeing grant writing and fundraising while remaining an integral part of the festival’s artistic decision-making and outreach programs. 


Managing Director John Dodd will remain in his role facilitating the festival’s daily operations, overseeing the budget, and managing the company upon their arrival in Kilgore. This is Dodd’s 34th year with Kilgore College and TSF. “I'm looking forward to this new chapter and the exciting programming our team is planning,” Dodd said. “After seven years of training alongside Raymond, there couldn't be anyone better than Meaghan to lead the Festival forward into its fourth decade."



About Texas Shakespeare Festival

Texas Shakespeare Festival aspires to provide high-quality, professional theatre productions of a caliber seldom found outside major cities. Kilgore College’s summer repertory company produces two Shakespeare plays, a non-Shakespearean classic, a musical, and a production for children. The main stage productions are produced in rotating repertory Thursday through Sunday, with matinee and evening performances each day. In addition, the Festival produces an array of educational offerings throughout the year, including a touring program that brings abridged productions of Shakespeare into middle schools and high schools throughout the state of Texas.


Learn more about Texas Shakespeare Festival at Follow the festival on Facebook and Instagram at @texasshakes.