Ayanna Thompson and Richard D. Batchelder, Jr. Elected to Folger Board of Governors

Press Contact
Garland Scott
(202) 675–0342
gscott@folger.edu

November 9, 2021
 
Washington, DC— Following the October 2021 meeting of the Folger Board of Governors, Board Chair J. May Liang has announced the election of two new members: Richard D. Batchelder, Jr. (Boston, MA) and Ayanna Thompson (Phoenix, AZ). 
 
“Both Ayanna and Richard are recognized experts in their fields, bringing substantive expertise and important perspectives to the Folger,” noted Liang, “as we expand our historic building and programs to serve ever greater, more diverse audiences in Washington, DC and around the world.”
 
Florence Cohen, chair of the Board’s Nominating and Governance Committee, added, “The Folger has dedicated resources and extensive planning to board building as a major driver to expand our reach, and we could not be more thrilled by the results. We welcome and look forward to working with Ayanna and Richard.” 
 

Richard D. Batchelder, Jr. is a partner in the Boston office of the global law firm Ropes & Gray, which he joined over 30 years ago. Richard has a lifelong interest in Shakespeare and the theater, and is a direct descendant of several characters in the canon, including Sir Walter Blount from Henry IV, Part 1. He recently received a Tony Award for co-producing The Inheritance, which won Best Play, and is co-Executive Producer of the upcoming feature film Lilly, which tells the life story of Fair Pay Act icon Lilly Ledbetter. Richard serves on several boards, including the USS Constitution Museum, and is also a Councilor of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, a Proprietor of the Boston Athenaeum, and on the Advisory Council of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Ayanna Thompson is a Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University and Director of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, where she created RaceB4Race. She is the author of many books including Blackface and Shakespeare in the Theatre: Peter Sellars. Thompson is a Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at The Public Theater, chairs the Council of Scholars at Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn, and serves on the Boards of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Play On Shakespeare. She served as the President of the Shakespeare Association of America, one of Phi Beta Kappa’s Visiting Scholars, a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Marshall Scholars, and in 2021 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

"Ayanna and Richard's perspectives will be invaluable as we plan how to best meet the needs of 21st-century audiences, students, teachers, and scholars exploring Shakespeare and his world," said Folger Director Michael Witmore. "I look forward to working with them, and our entire board, to ensure that the Folger is as relevant, engaging, and inclusive as possible as we prepare to open our new spaces and programs in 2023."
 
ABOUT THE FOLGER
 
Folger Shakespeare Library is the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the ultimate resource for exploring Shakespeare and his world. The Folger welcomes millions of visitors online and in person. We provide unparalleled access to a huge array of resources, from original sources to modern interpretations. With the Folger, you can experience the power of performance, the wonder of exhibitions, and the excitement of pathbreaking research. We offer the opportunity to see and even work with early modern sources, driving discovery and transforming education for students of all ages. 
 
The Folger’s historic 1932 building, designed by architect Paul Cret, is currently undergoing a major renovation to expand public spaces, improve accessibility, and enhance the experience for all who come to the Folger. The project is funded by a $50 million capital campaign, The Wonder of Will: The Campaign for the Folger Shakespeare Library. During our multiyear building renovation, join us online and on the road.
 
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Press Contact
Garland Scott
(202) 675–0342
gscott@folger.edu