Theatre In The Square Announces Leadership and Operational Changes

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Theatre in the Squareʼs Board Chair, Mike Russell, has announced major changes in operations and leadership amidst ongoing efforts to stabilize the groupʼs finances.

On Monday, Managing Director Raye Varney announced to the staff that she is resigning her position effective this week. The managing director position will not be immediately filled. Day-to-day activities of the staff members will be coordinated by Susan Reid, who will serve as Managing Director in an interim capacity.

In additional cuts to managerial overhead, Theatre in the Squareʼs producing director and co-founder, Palmer Wells, has agreed to work without pay until the theatre’s financial position improves. Over the past two years, the group has eliminated staff positions, reduced staff salaries by 10 percent, and reduced the two directorsʼ salaries by 20 percent.

Russell, who is president of Elite Telecom Services of Kennesaw, praised the work of Varney in her six-year stint as Managing Director. In addition, he praised the remaining team members for their professionalism and willingness to work through challenges. In an earlier email sent to staff, Russell said: “I cannot find words to adequately thank you for your herculean efforts and contributions these past few weeks (and longer) while the Theatre has been under so much financial pressure. You have sacrificed in so many ways, both personally and professionally.”

An urgent fund-raising effort was announced last September when Wells noted that the Theatre with its $1.5 million budget was on the brink of financial disaster. The Theatre announced a two-phase campaign to raise the funds necessary for survival. The first goal, to secure $350,000 by December 31, 2011, to ensure the current season would be completed, was met six weeks late.

Phase Two of the campaign is an effort to raise an additional $400,000 before June 30, 2012. Russell stated that fundraising would be virtually the only item on the agenda for the annual board retreat at the theatre on Saturday.