"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. This partnership between Tim Bond and Debbie Chinn is exactly what we hoped for, to boldly lead TheatreWorks into its next era."

—Holly Ward, TheatreWorks Board of Trustees Chair

With a distinguished career of more than thirty years in the theatre and performing arts, Debbie Chinn has worked as an arts activist, and led as both managing director and executive director, as well as served on the Board of Directors for some of the nation's leading arts organizations. A skilled fundraiser who excels in developing diverse community partnerships, Debbie's multidisciplinary expertise spans strategic planning, fund development, community/civic engagement, artistic programming, board and staff development, social responsibility campaigns, and financial management. Coming to us from a comprehensive national search led by Arts Consulting Group, Debbie will assume the post November 15, replacing the outgoing Phil Santora, who concluded his 15-year tenure at TheatreWorks at the end of July.


"My admiration for TheatreWorks is now in its fourth consecutive decade. Since moving to this region in the early 1990s, I have long been aware of TheatreWorks' consistent spirit of artistic innovation and commitment to providing a creative home for artists, artisans, and the greater community. 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 theatre and a meaningful member of the communities that we serve. I am eager to return to my beloved theatre roots, to partner with Tim and this dynamic team, and to make history along the way."


"I have admired Debbie Chinn from afar for many years and am excited to begin our partnership. I am energized by her passion, uplifted by her life story, and inspired by her innovative perspectives. Debbie’s leadership will be transformational for TheatreWorks as we embark on this next phase of our 52-year journey."


Sophia YenOver the past 30 years, Debbie (she/herhers) has held C-suite leadership positions at Anna Deavere Smith Projects, Opera Parallèle, Carmel Bach Festival, California Shakespeare Theater, Baltimore’s Center Stage, and Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey.

Debbie is a board member of Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco Community Music Center, the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, and is on the Advisory Council and on the EDI Committee of West Edge Opera. She most recently served as Board Chair of Theatre Bay Area. On a national level, she has been appointed to the Leadership Council of the National Small Business Association. https://www.debbiechinn.com/

Her book, Dancing in Their Light, published March 2022, chronicles her family’s historical connection to the missionaries of China and of the pioneering impact her family of immigrants have made to advance the fields of research, science, medicine, academia, engineering, arts, humanities, and culinary hospitality in the United States.

Debbie is currently the creative consultant for writer William Kinsolving on the development of his new musical, That Week With The Bachs, which will be presented at the Spacious Grace Festival in the nave of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco in February 2023.