The celebrated artistic director will participate in Aspen Institute programming and initiatives throughout the year.
Contact: Jon Purves
Associate Director, Media Relations
The Aspen Institute
Washington, DC, April 24, 2023– The Aspen Institute Arts Program today announced that Simon Godwin will serve as its 2023/24 Harman/Eisner Artist in Residence. In this role, Godwin will offer his artistic vision to various Policy Programs, events, leadership activities and more in Aspen, New York, Washington D.C., and elsewhere.
Godwin has been the Artistic Director of Shakespeare Theatre Company since 2019. He has directed the acclaimed King Lear featuring Patrick Page, Much Ado About Nothing featuring Kate Jennings Grant and Rick Holmes, and Timon of Athens featuring Kathryn Hunter and co-produced by New York’s Theatre for a New Audience. When the pandemic shuttered theater doors, Godwin directed Romeo & Juliet for the National Theatre, an original film for television. He will direct his fourth production for STC, Macbeth, in the 23/24 Season. He previously served as Associate Director of the National Theatre of London, the Royal Court Theatre, the Bristol Old Vic, and the Royal and Derngate Theatres (Northampton).
Each year, an artist or cultural leader is selected as a Harman/Eisner Artist in Residence for a year-long exploration of their artistry and their unique perspectives to help address major social and civic issues. Drawing upon the Institute’s long-established convening power and association with ideas, values and leadership, Artists in Residence engage in discussions rooted in the arts and as thought leaders on how we face our most critical issues.
“The Aspen Institute examines issues of vital importance and audaciously challenges our communal beliefs to help build a better society. I cannot think of a better partner to explore how social tensions in Shakespeare contend with contemporary issues of inequality, identity, and community,” Godwin said of his appointment.
Information about events featuring Godwin, including participation at the annual Aspen Ideas Festival, will be announced throughout the year.
“Simon Godwin is a master storyteller on stage and screen. His work builds on some of the world’s greatest literature to illuminate our understanding of humankind,” said Michael D. Eisner, Institute trustee and chair of its Committee on the Arts. “I am excited to work with such talent and share his great perspective.”
Aspen Institute Trustee Jane Harman adds, “my late husband and Artist in Residence co-founder Sidney would have been so thrilled to see two of his great joys, Shakespeare and the Aspen Institute, united in Simon Godwin serving as the Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence.”
“The Aspen Institute is grateful to the support and vision of Michael Eisner and Jane Harman, without whom the Harman/Eisner Artist in Residence program would not be possible,” said Dan Porterfield, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “This initiative celebrates the power of artists to cultivate empathy, build understanding, and inspire new possibilities that lead to the creation of a better world. It is inspiring that we will host Simon and the Shakespeare Theatre Company this year and I look forward to all that we will do together in the months to come.”
Prior to Simon Godwin’s appointment, the most recent Harman/Eisner Artists in Residence were Marin Alsop, Oskar Eustis, Rita Moreno, and Edmund de Waal. Previous participants include Lil Buck, Ava DuVernay, Renée Fleming, Theaster Gates, Frank Gehry, Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, Anna Deavere Smith, Robert Spano, Julie Taymor, and Alfre Woodard.
About Simon Godwin
Simon Godwin joined Shakespeare Theatre Company as Artistic Director in September 2019. Simon has directed three shows for STC (King Lear featuring Patrick Page, Much Ado About Nothing featuring Kate Jennings Grant and Rick Holmes, and Timon of Athens featuring Kathryn Hunter and co-produced by New York’s Theatre for a New Audience). He will direct his fourth production for STC in the 23/24 Season, Macbeth.
He has served as Associate Director of the National Theatre of London, the Royal Court Theatre, the Bristol Old Vic, and the Royal and Derngate Theatres (Northampton). While at the Royal Court, Simon directed seven world premieres, including Routes, If You Don’t Let Us Dream, We Won’t Let You Sleep, NSFW, The Witness, Goodbye to All That, The Acid Test, and Wanderlust. He made his debut at the National Theatre with Strange Interlude followed by Man and Superman, and went on to direct The Beaux’ Stratagem, Twelfth Night, a celebrated production of Antony and Cleopatra with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo, and the world premiere of Simon Wood’s Hansard.
Most recently, he returned to the National Theatre to direct Much Ado About Nothing featuring Katherine Parkinson and John Heffernan. He also directed Romeo & Juliet for the National Theatre, an original film for television (Sky Arts in U.K./PBS in U.S.) starring Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley. Simon has also directed at the Royal Shakespeare Company, including productions of Timon of Athens with Kathryn Hunter in the titular role, which was reimagined in early 2020 for Theatre for a New Audience in New York City and Shakespeare Theatre Company, an acclaimed Hamlet, which toured to the Kennedy Center, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. In 2019, Simon made his Tokyo debut, directing a Japanese cast in Hamlet for Theatre Cocoon. Other productions include The Little Mermaid, Krapp’s Last Tape/A Kind of Alaska, Faith Healer, Far Away, Everyman, Habeas Corpus, and Relatively Speaking. In 2012 Simon was awarded the inaugural Evening Standard/Burberry Award for an Emerging Director.
The Aspen Institute Arts Program champions the role of artists and cultural leaders as critical thought leaders, futurists and changemakers. Through our programs, the Institute’s well-known convening power and its vast network, we bring artists and cultural influencers to our audiences to celebrate and learn from their work and connect them with leaders across all fields to enlighten and to inspire us to face some of our greatest challenges. In furtherance of the Institute’s commitment to create a more just and equitable society, the Arts Program was established to ensure the inclusion of artists in addressing some of society’s most complex problems. The Arts Program is based in Washington DC. Programs collaborations include: the Michelle Smith Arts & Culture Series, Arts at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Arts as Diplomacy convenings, and the year-long Harman/Eisner Artist in Residence Program. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org/artsprogram.
The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.