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Florida Studio Theatre mourns loss of James Ashford

Coordinator of casting and hiring worked at FST for 21 years.

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  • | 1:00 p.m. February 9, 2022
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Florida Studio Theatre is mourning the loss of Coordinator of Casting and Hiring James Ashford, who died Tuesday at the age of 51.

Ashford spent 21 years at FST, rising from an acting apprentice to assistant to the artistic director, and he helped cast shows for the theater for more than 12 seasons.

“James worked at FST for more than two decades and contributed his heart and soul to the theater,” said Richard Hopkins, FST’s Producing Artistic Director, as part of an official press release. “We are grateful for his significant and invaluable contributions to the growth of FST. We are deeply saddened to learn of his passing.”

Ashford helped to select the casts and design teams for several prominent FST productions including “Metamorphoses” (2005), “Shear Madness” (2011), “Monty Python’s Spamalot” (2014) and “Bright Star” (2020).

Ashford also played a key role in the development of FST’s Write a Play program.

Kate Alexander, FST’s associate director and founder of the Write a Play program, said that she would remember Ashford as a key contributor to the theater over decades of work.

"I was very fond of James from the early days when I worked with him as an acting intern, appearing in 'James and the Giant Peach,'" Alexander said. "Even back then, it was clear that he was so intelligent, inquisitive, sensitive and kind. He found an artistic home here at FST, and we all grew — as people and as leaders of a theater — together.

“He really found his stride as the casting coordinator, working with agents, actors and contributing to the artistic process. He had a unique gift of helping actors know and feel that they were part of something larger, that they were essential to FST’s mission.”


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