I promised myself I was going to sleep through the month of July and then rest in August. But my alarm clock went off early when David called to say that Next Act was in need of a Development Director.
For the past 21 years, along with my husband, Chris, I was co-founder and Producing Director of In Tandem Theatre. This past spring, we made the decision to cease operations and leave our venue, the Tenth Street Theatre on Milwaukee’s near west side. While it was a difficult decision, it is one with which we are happy. We believe we did the right thing at the right time for the organization and for ourselves. In Tandem will live on as we continue with projects outside of our programming, such as training and providing actors to do role-playing exercises for students of social work through the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare and other small events. Who knows, perhaps we’ll put on a show somewhere, some day (I hear Next Act rents their theatre…). Artistically, I do hope to direct again in the future.
Once Chris and I made our decision, it was time to decide what direction to take, career-wise. I began to think about all the things I did administratively with In Tandem and of the myriad of hats I wore, what I would miss the most. The answer kept coming back to development. I enjoy researching and writing grants, hosting fundraising events, and getting to know patrons and donors. All of these things will be part of what I’ll do for Next Act. So while it may have been a little earlier than I had planned, I eagerly took the job at Next Act this past July.
My history with Next Act goes back a long way. Prior to In Tandem, I worked as a freelance stage manager, working with Theatre Tesseract, Next Generation Theatre and then for Next Act when the two aforementioned companies merged. My dear friend, Charles Kakuk, was my mentor when we began In Tandem – teaching me the ins and outs of arts administration. The transition has been quite easy, as I have the benefit of using the same processes and techniques that Charles instituted for Next Act and that he passed along to me. I also have known David, the Next Act staff, most of their actors and designers, as well as many of their patrons and donors for years. It all feels very familiar and comfortable.
I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones as we launch Next Act’s 30th anniversary season together.