After spending 35 years at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York—15 of those as the organization’s president— Karen Brooks Hopkins will step down in June 2015. During her tenure, BAM grew from a single building to a multidisciplinary arts center with three complexes. When she stepped in as president in 1999, the budget more than doubled, from $21 million to $52 million. Hopkins is leaving her position to spend more time with her grandchildren.
In mid-May, Lydia Fort will start work as the new executive artistic director at Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company of San Diego, Calif. Fort was most recently an assistant professor at the City College of New York, where she created a number of new theatre courses, including a class on theatre for social change. Fort replaces Seema Sueko, who left to join California’s Pasadena Playhouse as associate artistic director.
Palo Alto Players in California has undergone a change of leadership. After 30 years at the helm, executive director Peter Bliznick stepped down in March. To replace him, associate artistic director Patrick Klein and box office and operations manager Diana Wiley have been promoted to the positions of artistic director and managing director, respectively. Bliznick will stay on at the theatre as executive director emeritus.
N.C. Black Repertory Company in North Carolina has hired a new executive director: Taylor Thierry. She was an instructor at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia; she also served on N.C. Black Rep’s board in the ’90s. Thierry replaces Gerri Patton, who left in October.
In March, Rebecca Blunk left her position as executive director of the New England Foundation for the Arts. She came to NEFA in 1985, first as a director of performing arts, and was named executive director in 2004. Under her tenure, NEFA established its expeditions grant program and launched the National Theater Project, providing networking and funding support.
Greg Ray has been promoted to executive director of the State Theatre in State College, Penn. Ray first came to the theatre in 2008 as a lighting designer, and then worked as a programing manager. In his new position, he is charged with maintaining the economic health of the organization, which operated at a $352,000 loss in fiscal 2013.
Executive director Nick Johnson stepped down in April from his post at WYO Theater in Sheridan, Wisc. After nine years at WYO, Johnson is moving to Iowa to become executive director of Performing Arts Center of Rapid City.
The Playwrights Realm in New York City has a new managing director: Alexander Orbovich. He takes over for Renee Blinkwolt, who left to become the managing director at Ars Nova. Orbovich was previously the general manager at the Cherry Lane Theatre.
Mary Kate Barley-Jenkins has started her new job as managing director of Adventure Stage Chicago. Barley-Jenkins comes to the theatre from the Chicago Humanities Festival, where she served as managing director of programming and production, and created and curated the Stages, Sights and Sounds festival for young audiences.