Soon to be celebrating our 45th Anniversary next season, we would like to announce that key leadership changes will be occurring over the course of this celebratory season. Our Founder and Producing Artistic Director, Julian Wiles, has announced that he will turn over the management of the company to a new two-person management team in May 2023 at the conclusion of our 45th Season at the Historic Dock Street Theatre.
Charleston Stage Board of Trustees President, Janet Fiorenza, explains “with the company’s remarkable growth over the years, the staff now totals over 33 full-time theatre artists, technicians and educators and, with a budget of over $3.5 million dollars annually, Julian and the board felt it was time to expand the executive leadership team at Charleston Stage.” Over the next year, we will move to a new two-person executive leadership structure. This is the standard management model for non-profit theatres nationwide. It will consist of an Artistic Director to oversee the artistic aspects of the company and a Managing Director who will oversee finance, marketing and development. These new positions and roles will be phased in over the next 12 months.
Board President Janet Fiorenza continues “the company’s succession plans were approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees on May 3, 2022. As a part of this plan the Board is very excited to announce that Marybeth Clark has been named the Artistic Director, Designee and will fully assume the Artistic Director position in May 2023 upon Founder and Producing Director Julian Wiles’s formal retirement.” Ms. Clark has been with Charleston Stage for 23 years, beginning as Director of Education and becoming Associate Artistic Director in 1998. Serving as director, actor, educator and administrator, Ms. Clark has been instrumental in the growth of the company, vastly expanding the education programs and directing over 60 productions – such hits as Mamma Mia!, Elf The Musical, Of Mice and Men, and this past spring’s production of Kinky Boots. Ms. Clark has helped launch and manage the company’s Resident Professional Acting Company, the creation of the West Ashley Theatre Center and Pearl Theatre as well as overseeing the launch of Charleston Stage’s new CityStage community performance and educational programming. CityStage’s first community tour, a new musical production of Treasure Island, is currently providing free performances this month throughout the Lowcountry.
The Board has also engaged David Mallette, President of Management Consultants for the Arts, to conduct a national search for the new Managing Director position. Charleston Stage Board member Valerie Morris, retired Dean of the College of Charleston School of the Arts, will chair the Search Committee. We are hopeful we can fill the new Managing Director position by January 2023. With the new Managing Director and Artistic Director Designee in place, Founder and current Producing Artistic Director, Julian Wiles, will then become Director Emeritus in May 2023 and at that time turn over day-to-day management of the company to the new executive team.
“I am very grateful for the generosity of our patrons, donors and the entire Charleston community over the years,” notes Wiles. “Their support has made it possible for Charleston Stage to continue to expand its artistic horizons over the years, and I look forward in the coming year and in the years to come in supporting Marybeth Clark, our Artistic Director, Designee, and our upcoming new Managing Director once that candidate is selected. I have no doubt they will bring their own unique perspectives and imaginative creative vision to the work of Charleston Stage as they lead the company into the next phase of Charleston Stage’s artistic growth and evolution.”
Mr. Wiles, who founded Charleston Stage in 1979, will continue to be involved with the company in a limited capacity, directing one or two shows a season and being available to consult with new leadership as requested. Mr. Wiles has produced and/or directed over 350 productions over his 44-year tenure with Charleston Stage in addition to writing over 40 original plays and musicals for the company including Gershwin at Folly, The Seat of Justice, and this coming season’s JFK and Inga Binga. In 2021, Mr. Wiles was named a Distinguished Alumnus at UNC Chapel Hill, was inducted into the SC Theatre Association’s Hall of Fame in 2018, received the 2010 Governor’s Award for the Arts, received a Special Recognition Award in 2004 from the Charleston NAACP for his work on The Seat of Justice and, in 1988, he received the National Youth Theatre Director’s Award.
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