Culture watch

Theatre Administration Shakeups

When most people think of local theater, they tend to think of what happens on stage, and most of the credit for a successful show tends to go to those with the highest visibility — the director and the cast. But the reality is that a theater company without good administrators is one without a future. After all, someone has to secure funding, hire directors, manage promotion and generally make sure that things don’t crumble under the weight of the day-to-day problems. It’s a largely thankless job, but a vital one if you want to produce excellent theater. In the past two months, two major local theater companies have changed managing directors, which likely means big (if not so visible) changes for these groups in coming months. Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre recently announced the hiring of Rob Miller as the company’s new managing director. Miller is the former manager of Newton-Conover Auditorium in Newton, N.C., and replaces Deborah Austin, who left SART to found the Asheville-based company Night Shades Productions. Meanwhile, Asheville Community Theatre recently named Cathy “Cate” Foltin as their new managing director. Foltin has an extensive background with arts-based nonprofits (including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) and has worked with a number of excellent theater companies including the Raleigh Little Theatre. (Perhaps between the two of them they could forge some kind of task force to determine whether “theatre” or “theater” is the proper spelling, as it appears there is still widespread confusion over this issue, even in the upper echelons.)

Theater On TV

It may not be as cool as getting a new managing director, but the Flat Rock Playhouse recently announced that it will be profiled in an upcoming episode of the UNC-TV series Our State. According to a FRP press release, the program will show a behind-the-scenes take on the theater, highlighting the rapid transformation of the stage and sets from the end of one production to the start of the next. The program is set to air on Thursday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m.

Oh Look … Another Award

It’s a telling thing when our city wins a major civic award, and no one even seems to notice. I guess a decade or so of being told that ours is a great place to live by the likes of Rolling Stone and USA Today has made most of us start taking that kind of compliment for granted. Well, just in case you care, Asheville was recently named a “Gold winner” in the 2006 Awards for Municipal Excellence by the National League of Cities Congress of Cities (a little redundant, isn’t it?) for our Cultural Renaissance Arts Program. Asheville was one of nine cities honored with the award this year.

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