Northern Stage, the professional theater company in White River Junction, VT, has announced the hiring of a new management team, including an Artistic Director and Managing Director.
Carol Dunne, currently Artistic Director of the New London Barn Playhouse and Senior Lecturer in Theater at Dartmouth College, will serve as the new Artistic Director. She will be joined by new Managing Director Eric Bunge, co-founder and former Managing Director of The Commonweal Theatre Company in Lanesboro, Minnesota.
"From the perspective of the Board of Directors, joining Carol and Eric with Producing Director Catherine Doherty is the ideal combination of experience, proven skill, and success in art, production and business, the core functions of theater operations," said Stuart Johnson, the chair of Northern Stage's Board of Directors. "In my view, Northern Stage is in terrific hands."
Dunne, who recently directed the highly successful Northern Stage production of The Importance of Being Earnest and has acted in many productions there, expressed excitement about her new role. "I love the support Northern Stage enjoys from the community and a passionate board of directors. Because of the sophistication of the audience here, Northern Stage has been able to maintain an impressive breadth of programming while many other regional theaters are narrowing their focus." Her leadership at the New London Barn Playhouse has resulted in greater fiscal and artistic stability, tremendous audience acclaim, and numerous New Hampshire Theatre Awards. She will continue to lead the Barn, offering exciting opportunities for collaboration and support between the two institutions.
"When I joined the New London Barn Playhouse, I sought out Eric's advice as a consultant. His experience is extraordinary, and when I learned that Northern Stage was now seeking a Managing Director, I knew that Eric was the perfect candidate."
Bunge, who started Commonweal Theatre Company in a hundred-year-old movie theater and subsequently built a 200-seat state-of-the-art theater in a town of about 750, brings sharp management skills and great success in a rural environment. "I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to help Northern Stage thrive and grow," he said. "This company has developed a tremendous reputation in the world of regional theater, and teaming up with Carol and Catherine provided a great opportunity for me."
Doherty, who has worked at Northern Stage since 2001, has acted with Dunne and directed her here, in addition to acting in the Dunne-helmed Earnest last month. "Carol has established a sterling reputation in this community through her work at the New London Barn Playhouse and Dartmouth College, and her creativity and drive will guide Northern Stage through its next exciting chapter."
Johnson explained that Dunne recommended the move to the traditional Artistic Director/Managing Director structure of regional theaters, and she suggested the addition of Bunge. "Since the departure of Founding Artistic Director Brooke Ciardelli, the Board has been seeking an Artistic Director to continue her great work. We were lucky to find someone right in our own back yard who fills the bill perfectly.
"We are particularly grateful to Russell Maitland. Russell presided over Northern Stage during a time when the organization was going through significant change. Some time ago, Russell suggested that his tenure be considered transitional, and the Board accepted his recommendation. As he moves on from Northern Stage, his support for and praise of its theatrical excellence are unswerving, and the Board wishes him well in his future endeavors."
Dunne, a resident of Etna, NH, said she will "continue the excellent work of Northern Stage and, with the help of the board and community, set a vision for the next phase of the company's development." That vision includes more formal collaborations among Upper Valley theater resources. "Collaboration is the key to creativity in the theater and can benefit audiences, donors and students profoundly."