Molly Smith has been a leader in new play development for more than 30 years. She was the founder and artistic director of the Perseverance Theatre in Alaska and currently serves as the artistic director of Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. She has has led the re-invention of Arena Stage, focusing on the creation of the Mead Center for American Theater and positioning Arena Stage as a center for the production, presentation, development, and study of American theater. Smith has commissioned or championed numerous world premieres and directed over 75 productions. Her directorial work has been seen at Arena Stage, Perseverance Theatre, the Shaw Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company, LA Theatreworks, Tarragon Theatre, and the Centaur Theatre. She served as the Center's panel chair in theater in 2009.