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As associate artistic director of the Playwrights' Center and an artistic director of Red Eye Theater, Hayley Finn has helped shape hundreds of stories. Now she is writing a new chapter of her own.

Finn has been tapped to be the next artistic director of Theater J in Washington, D.C., a tenure that begins pronto on Feb. 1.

"I love my community here and I will miss the artists, but this opportunity was too good to pass up," Finn said Tuesday. "Theater J has an amazing legacy of producing work and I get to continue to nurture my relationship with writers and to commission new plays."

In the Twin Cities, Finn worked with such playwrights as Christina Ham, Rhiana Yazzie and Kira Obolensky, staging shows at Pillsbury House and Six Points theaters, among others. She also served as one of six artistic directors at Red Eye, where she helped to lead the experimental, collaborative-minded company into a new theater space.

But it is at the Playwrights' Center, where she has worked for nearly 16 years, that she has left her mark. Finn has produced about 900 workshops of new plays during her time in the Twin Cities, helping playwrights across the country produce new work.

"I'm so sad she's leaving the Twin Cities but even more excited for the next stunning chapter ahead," said Jeremy Cohen, producing artistic director of the Playwrights' Center.

A New York native who earned degrees at Brown, Finn first came to Minneapolis to direct new works by Mac Wellman. She was smitten with the arts community, especially the level of interest in and support for new works.

She is charged about continuing that work in the nation's capital.

"My philosophical bent is towards a more diverse American theater," said Finn. "How can we tell stories that represent the richness and vitality of this place where we live."