Just months after leaving Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Rick Dildine is returning to his post of executive and artistic director.
After five years at the helm of the St. Louis institution, he resigned in June 2014 to become executive director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass. A news release from the Lennox institution announced today that he will leave and oversee Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' 2015 season.
The release did not explain why Dildine is returning to St. Louis. But in a phone call, Dildine said it was a chance to return to a job he loved.
"The work at Shakespeare & Company was demanding a full-time administrator," Dildine said. "And in St. Louis, I'm much closer to the programming and the artists, and that's where my passion is."
Dildine's not sure exactly when he'll be back. He said he learned "a lot" in Massachusetts and that it was a good experience. But it wasn't a good fit.
"I"m very lucky the board of the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis has given me the opportunity to return," he said.
The turning point came when Dildine came back to St. Louis for the Jan. 19 St. Louis Arts Awards, presented by the Arts and Education Council. Nancy and Ken Kranzberg were given an Excellence in Philanthropy award, and when they spoke, a light bulb went off, he said.
"What they said resonated with me so much," Dildine said. "That the opportunities and the art and the support in St. Louis, is, bar none, and I agree with that."
During his time as head of Shakespeare Festival, Dildine expanded the organization with SHAKE 38, a five-day celebration of various Shakespearean productions, and a yearly presentation of Shakespeare in the Streets, based on the personal stories of different St. Louis neighborhoods.
Beginning May 22, Shakespeare Festival will present "Antony and Cleopatra" in its outdoor home in Forest Park. It will run through June 15. Shakespeare Festival was formed in 1997.