Theatrical Outfit has chosen Lee Foster, Executive Producing Director of Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City, Calif., as its next Managing Director. Foster, 57, begins work in Atlanta on July 7.
Hillbarn is the sixth-oldest continuously operating amateur theater company in the nation and the oldest in California’s San Mateo County. In 16 years there, Foster increased the company’s budget from $300,000 to almost $1 million, paid off its debt, took care of critical capital projects (a roof and air conditioning), helped create top-quality production values with shows that now fill its seats and began a world-class conservatory that serves up to 600 young people each year.
Foster started on Hillbarn’s board of directors, was promoted to Executive Director, left for a brief period of time, and then returned to serve as both Executive Director and Artistic Director. She’s even been known to sing and dance at theater fundraisers.
“I met my goals,” she says of her Hillbarn tenure, “and now I’d like to pursue new goals. I really felt a pull to a higher artistic level.”
Two things sold her on Theatrical Outfit: the tagline and Tom Key.
“I love the idea of ‘stories that stir the soul’ because that’s my philosophy about storytelling and theater. I really admire Tom Key’s work and look forward to working with him.”
Says Key: “Theatrical Outfit has just launched a bold, exciting new strategic plan, and I believe Lee Foster is just exactly the kind of impassioned, experienced and committed leader who will not only accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves, but make the work of getting there a joy and anhonor.”
Before joining Hillbarn, Foster spent 16 years in the cruise industry, doing marketing and sales and running land-based programs – with little help from the Internet, which was not a force then. Success meant building relationships one person a time, she says, cultivating those relationships and maintaining them over a long period of time.
That translates nicely to making theater. “You take that,” she says, “and you’re so much better in learning how to put things onstage. You understand what touches people, what reaches them.”
Foster has an undergraduate degree in Mandarin Chinese from Tufts University outside Boston and two master’s degrees: one is in business from the University of San Francisco, the other in fine arts from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, Calif. She and her husband, music director and conductor Greg Sudmeier, will live in the Serenbe artistic community not far from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. They have four grown children.
“I want to be part of a community, that’s really important to me,” Foster says of her move to Theatrical Outfit. “I also want to serve as part of that community.”
Season subscriptions: On sale now at 1.877.725.8829 or theatricaloutfit.org
Single tickets: On sale July 1.