WILLIAMSTOWN -- Artistic Director Jenny Gersten is leaving Williamstown Theatre Festival at the end of the year, the company announced late Tuesday afternoon.
A statement from the Williamstown Theatre Festival indicated Gersten has accepted a job as executive director of Friends of the High Line in New York City. High Line is a public park and garden built on a former elevated railway.
The theater company's 2014 season "will remain under Gersten's artistic direction; she will curate and oversee the season to ensure a seamless leadership transition," according to the statement. The statement said a search for a new artistic director will be underway in 2014.
For the 2011 season, Gersten returned to Williamstown Theatre Festival as artistic director, the company's first woman to hold that job. She had served from 1997 to 2004 as its associate producer.
"It's with a heavy heart that I prepare to leave the Williamstown Theatre Festival, which has been my home for many years," Gersten said in a statement. "However, the opportunity to work at the High Line provides me a way to offer service and imaginative programming to a very special part of a city I love -- my hometown. It was irresistible."
Matthew Harris, the president of the Williamstown Theatre Festival's board of trustees, said Gersten "will be dearly missed."
"We wish her great success in her exciting new endeavor, where we know she will continue to enrich the cultural landscape for all of us," Harris said.
To date, Gersten has brought world premieres like "Far From Heaven" and "The Bridges of Madison County," the U.S. premiere of "Ten Cents a Dance," and much buzzed-about productions like "The Elephant Man" to Williamstown.
WTF's artistic directors
1955-1956: David C. Bryant
1957-1989: Nikos Psacharopoulos
1990: Peter Hunt, George Morfogen
1991-1996: Peter Hunt
1997-2004: Michael Ritchie
2005-2007: Roger Rees
2008-2010: Nicholas Martin
2011-2014: Jenny Gersten