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Debbie Chinn named next executive director of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley

Also, Stanford's Michael McFaul receives state award from Ukraine

Debbie Chinn will begin serving as TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's executive director starting Nov. 15, 2022. Courtesy David Allen.

This week, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has a new leader in Debbie Chinn, and Michael McFaul, director of Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute, was recently honored by Ukraine.

IN THE LIMELIGHT ... TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has found a new executive director in Debbie Chinn, who will officially begin her new role on Nov. 15. The theater company, which puts on shows in Palo Alto and Mountain View, announced the leadership change on Aug. 24.

"On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we welcome Debbie's infectious enthusiasm and energy as she returns to regional theatre at this crucial time in our history," board chair Holly Ward said in a statement.

Chinn, who has lived in the Bay Area since the early 1990s, enters the role with leadership experience from a variety of organizations, including Anna Deavere Smith Projects, Opera Parallele, Carmel Bach Festival, California Shakespeare Theater, Center Stage in Baltimore and the Shakespeare Theater in New Jersey. She serves on the boards of the Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco Community Music Center and Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco.

"This is an exhilarating moment for all of us in the arts industry as we come together to design a whole new model for what it means to be a regional theater and a meaningful member of the communities that we serve," Chinn said in a statement.

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Chinn succeeds Phil Santora, who ended his time at TheatreWorks in late July. "I have admired Debbie Chinn from afar for many years and am excited to begin our partnership," TheatreWorks Artistic Director Tim Bond said. "I am energized by her passion, uplifted by her life story, and inspired by her innovative perspectives."

Michael McFaul, director of Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the former U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, speaks at a symposium at Stanford University on April 21, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

HIGH HONOR … Michael McFaul, the director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University, was recently honored with a state award from Ukraine, which celebrated its Independence Day last month.

He was among dozens recognized for "significant personal merits in strengthening interstate cooperation, support of state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an Aug. 23 decree. This list includes notable figures such as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour and actor Ben Stiller.

The awards came as the Russian invasion of Ukraine surpassed the six-month mark. McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador and a longtime scholar of Russia and Ukraine, was deeply grateful for the recognition.

"President Zelenskyy, Ukraine's warriors and all Ukrainians are leading the fight for democracy, freedom and sovereignty against tyranny, repression, and imperialism," McFaul said in a Sept. 1 article on FSI's website. "They are heroes. Not just for Ukraine, not just for Europe, but for the entire world."

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Debbie Chinn named next executive director of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley

Also, Stanford's Michael McFaul receives state award from Ukraine

by Palo Alto Weekly staff / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sun, Sep 11, 2022, 8:43 am

This week, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has a new leader in Debbie Chinn, and Michael McFaul, director of Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute, was recently honored by Ukraine.

IN THE LIMELIGHT ... TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has found a new executive director in Debbie Chinn, who will officially begin her new role on Nov. 15. The theater company, which puts on shows in Palo Alto and Mountain View, announced the leadership change on Aug. 24.

"On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we welcome Debbie's infectious enthusiasm and energy as she returns to regional theatre at this crucial time in our history," board chair Holly Ward said in a statement.

Chinn, who has lived in the Bay Area since the early 1990s, enters the role with leadership experience from a variety of organizations, including Anna Deavere Smith Projects, Opera Parallele, Carmel Bach Festival, California Shakespeare Theater, Center Stage in Baltimore and the Shakespeare Theater in New Jersey. She serves on the boards of the Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco Community Music Center and Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco.

"This is an exhilarating moment for all of us in the arts industry as we come together to design a whole new model for what it means to be a regional theater and a meaningful member of the communities that we serve," Chinn said in a statement.

Chinn succeeds Phil Santora, who ended his time at TheatreWorks in late July. "I have admired Debbie Chinn from afar for many years and am excited to begin our partnership," TheatreWorks Artistic Director Tim Bond said. "I am energized by her passion, uplifted by her life story, and inspired by her innovative perspectives."

HIGH HONOR … Michael McFaul, the director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University, was recently honored with a state award from Ukraine, which celebrated its Independence Day last month.

He was among dozens recognized for "significant personal merits in strengthening interstate cooperation, support of state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an Aug. 23 decree. This list includes notable figures such as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour and actor Ben Stiller.

The awards came as the Russian invasion of Ukraine surpassed the six-month mark. McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador and a longtime scholar of Russia and Ukraine, was deeply grateful for the recognition.

"President Zelenskyy, Ukraine's warriors and all Ukrainians are leading the fight for democracy, freedom and sovereignty against tyranny, repression, and imperialism," McFaul said in a Sept. 1 article on FSI's website. "They are heroes. Not just for Ukraine, not just for Europe, but for the entire world."

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