NEW YORK CITY: HERE‘s board of directors has announced changes in leadership. Longtime producing/executive director Kim Whitener will step down from her position this fall and will return to creative producing and consulting for her company KiWi Productions.
Since receiving notice, the board of directors conducted an institutional assessment and announced two promotions of senior staff members. Current general manager Meredith Lynsey Schade will be the producing director and current director of advancement Brenna Thomas will be the director of external affairs. They begin their positions on Sept. 1, and Whitener will officially leave on Sept. 30.
“HERE has benefited enormously from Kim’s vision and leadership,” HERE board chair Bethany Haynes said in a statement. “The board of directors extends its deep gratitude and appreciation to Kim for her all of her work and support of HERE over the past decade and wishes her the best as she enters this new chapter.”
Whitener joined HERE as its producing director in February 2007 and became the executive director earlier this year. With founding artistic director Kristin Marting, she co-curated and co-produced HERE’s producing and presenting programs, as well as other special projects. Whitener was instrumental in launching two major HERE initiatives—the MADE HERE online video documentary series and annual festival PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now. Over the course of her tenure, HERE more than doubled its annual budget to $2.5 million, grew its staff and board of directors, and established important co-producing partnerships. Prior to her time at HERE, Whitener worked as an independent producer and consultant, served as managing director of the Wooster Group, and was the marketing director for Playwrights Horizons.
“The development of artists to their full potential is my great passion,” Whitener said in a statement. “It has been a huge honor to be part of these extraordinary years of accomplishment and growth at HERE—to work with Kristin and an amazing dedicated staff and board, and foremost to watch with joy the advancement of the artists who have come through HERE and launched their careers during my tenure.”
Schade has served as HERE’s general manager since 2015 and has produced in the non-profit and commercial sectors, both domestically and internationally. She is the former executive director of ArtWallah and founder of the e-play periodical StageReads and the devised theatre company the Vicious Circle. She is currently co-producing the upcoming production of Anais Mitchell’s Hadestown, set to open at the National Theatre in London in December. Meredith holds a MFA in producing from CalArts and a BFA in design and technical theatre from the University of Connecticut.
Thomas, HERE’s director of institutional advancement and major gifts, has led HERE’s development department since 2011. She has overseen the creation of major gifts and membership programs, board development, larger annual galas, and the fundraising efforts associated with HERE’s special projects, such as PROTOTYPE. Prior, she served as associate director of development and manager of institutional and government relations at New York Theatre Workshop, and as executive assistant to Cora Cahan, president of the New 42nd Street. Thomas has also managed her own independent theatre company in New York and earned an M.A. from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she wrote a thesis on small theatre companies and audience engagement.
HERE is an Obie-winning New York City theatre that is a leader in the field of producing and presenting new, hybrid performances that are viewed as seamless integrations of artistic disciplines.