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Seattle loses two arts leaders

Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony.
Flickr Photo/D Coetzee (Public Domain)/
Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony.

Seattle’s lively theater community will lose two of its leaders.

The 5th Avenue Theater said artistic director David Armstrong is stepping down. Meanwhile, the Seattle Symphony has announced that its president and CEO Simon Woods will leave for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

When David Armstrong arrived in Seattle in 2001, he saw potential for an institution far outside New York’s commercial theater scene to help nurture large scale productions.

Under his almost-18 year tenure, the 5th Avenue has been an incubator for Broadway hits like "Hairspray," "Memphis" and "Catch Me if you Can."

He’s also been a strong supporter for local talent, onstage and off. According to administrators, the 5th Avenue is now the largest arts employer in the Pacific Northwest.

Armstrong will assume the title of artistic director emeritus at the end of the 2017/18 artistic season.He plans to focus on writing and directing.

The 5th Avenue said Armstrong’s position will not be replaced.

Seattle Symphony plans to launch an international search to replace Simon Woods. He leaves in January for his new job in Los Angeles.