Friday, December 14, 2007

Intiman Theatre Managing Director Laura Penn Named Executive Director of Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers; Intiman Will Open National Search to Identify Her Successor

SEATTLE— Intiman Theatre announces that its longtime Managing Director, Laura Penn , has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, succeeding Barbara Hauptman. Penn, who leaves Intiman after 14 seasons, will relocate to New York and assume her new position in the spring of 2008.

“Laura has been a valued partner, and our collaboration over the past eight years has been a highlight of my career,” says Artistic Director Bartlett Sher. “She has managed some really remarkable and challenging world premieres—and she’s a genius at community work and looking at how theatre impacts and connects with people. The foundation of what we have built is very strong and stable, both artistically and in our financial and business operations, and there is real opportunity here for Intiman to build on her legacy—even as SSDC and all its constituents benefit from her expertise and creativity.”

“I am excited about this new opportunity to advocate for the work of artists on a national level, and to guiding SSDC’s vision and priorities into the future,” says Penn. “At the same time, the people I have had the joy to work with in Seattle and especially at Intiman—artists, our Board, the staff, and many, many colleagues in our community over the years—will always inform my personal sense of mission about our field.”

Intiman received the 2006 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. During Penn’s tenure, the Theatre has served as an advocate and catalyst for civic dialogue and community building in the Puget Sound region and nationally. Recent world premieres under her leadership include Kent Gash’s adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son, which premiered as part of Intiman’s American Cycle series of classic stories and community programs; Craig Lucas’s Prayer for My Enemy and Singing Forest; The Light in the Piazza by Lucas and Adam Guettel , based on the novel by Elizabeth Spencer; and Joan Holden’s adaptation of Nickel and Dimed, based on the nonfiction book by Barbara Ehrenreich.

“Intiman’s Board has, throughout its history, done a great job of hiring and supporting strong leaders,” says Phyllis J. Campbell, President and CEO of the Seattle Foundation. “The Board has had great success in identifying some of the field’s best talent locally and nationally, and is well positioned to continue to do that—it’s a great moment for opportunity.”

The Intiman Board of Trustees has engaged Greg Kandel of Management Consult for the Arts to consult on a national search to hire Penn’s successor. The search committee will be co-chaired by Intiman Trustee Cynthia Huffman and administered by Kate Godman , Intiman's former associate director.

“Laura leaves big shoes to fill and we will miss her audacious, dynamic leadership,” says Susan J. Leavitt, President of the Intiman Board of Trustees. “We are also proud of Intiman’s track record. After the great achievements of Laura and Bart’s partnership and our recent financial successes, she leaves Intiman poised for its next big leap forward, and we are looking forward to an extremely competitive search at this exciting time for the Theatre.”

Intiman recently completed the first phase of a critical fundraising initiative to stabilize its financial position for its 2008 season. Ahead of deadline, the Theatre secured $1.3 million in cash gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations. It is currently on track to successfully complete the second phase of the initiative, which will allow it to meet its year-end goals and complete its Dramatically Different fundraising campaign on an accelerated schedule.

To arrange interviews or for more information: contact Stephanie Coen, Director of Communications, at 206.269.1901 ext. 208 or

Intiman Theatre

Intiman’s legacy is defined by the boldest vision in the production of classics and new plays. Our Theatre is rich with talent and amazing people—artists who have made their homes in Seattle and nationally recognized artists, all of whom are dedicated to engaging our community in conversation, and to having an impact on our culture locally and nationally. Winner of a Golden Apple Award, Intiman serves more than 10,000 students annually through the flagship arts-in-education program Living History and special initiatives that empower young people. Intiman is dedicated to fostering opportunities for our audiences and larger community to gather within the intersections of art and civic dialogue.

The Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SSDC)

SSDC is an independent labor union for stage directors and choreographers. Member representatives of the organization collectively bargain contracts with producer organizations, thus creating the national standards for professional stage direction and choreography. The organization has an office in New York City that services approximately 1700 members and 300 associates in the US and abroad.

The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, founded in 1965, exists to foster, promote and develop the creativity and craft of stage directors and choreographers. SDCF’s goals are to provide opportunities for exchange of knowledge among directors and choreographers; to provide opportunities to practice the crafts of directing and choreography; to promote the profession to emerging talent; to gather and disseminate craft and career information; and to increase the awareness of the value of directors’ and choreographers’ work.

Intiman Theatre gratefully acknowledges the following for their institutional support: The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Ameriprise Financial, Norman Archibald Charitable Foundation, ArtsFund, The Boeing Company, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Fales Foundation Trust, Humanities Washington, Intiman Theatre Foundation, Kreielsheimer Remainder Trust, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, Nesholm Family Foundation, The Norcliffe Foundation, PONCHO, Pride Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Seattle Foundation, Theatre Communications Group, U.S. Bancorp Foundation, WaMu and Wells Fargo Bank. Additional funding is received from Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, City of Seattle ; 4Culture; Metropolitan King County Council and Washington State Arts Commission.

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