HOUSTON: Stages has announced staff changes, with managing director Mark Folkes stepping down from his role as of April 22 to join Greater Houston Community Foundation as its chief growth officer. Folkes has served as managing director since 2015, and he will work with the theatre’s board and staff to ensure a smooth transition. A national search for a new managing director will be conducted by a search committee led by board president Jane Schmitt and a to be determined consultant.
“I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to partner and lead during an unbelievable exciting time in Stages’ history, “said Folkes in a statement. “I have been supported in all facets of my work by board, staff, donors, patrons, and artists. This is a rare experience and one that should be modeled in every organization. While Stages’ community, compact, and opportunity have grown, one thing has remained constant: Stages is surrounded by a deeply dedicated, passionate, and smart community who will continue to lift this organization up to the highest heights in the years ahead.”
During his tenure, Folkes played a vital role in the growth of Stages, including working with board and community leaders on the $35.8 million Staging Our Future capital campaign and the construction of the Gordy. Under his leadership, Stages has also seen a 173 percent subscriber increase and a tripling of philanthropic support.
“I can’t overstate the impact Mark has had on Stages,” said board president Schmitt in a statement. “We are moving forward with confidence knowing that the organization that Mark has helped build will continue to thrive.”
Added artistic director Kenn McLaughlin in a statement, “My leadership alongside Mark has been the single most rewarding and impactful professional partnership of my career. Mark is simply one of the finest leaders I have ever known and in his new role, the entire community will further benefit from his expertise, good humor, and outstanding professional acumen.”
Additionally, Stages has announced that Eboni Bell is set to become the company’s first inclusion, engagement, and training director, effective Feb. 8. Bell has been with the organization for six years, working as the house manager and then the venue and events manager.
“Eboni has shown a deep and abiding commitment to Stages, and it makes me immensely proud to welcome this inspiring leader to our management team,” said artistic director Kenn McLaughlin in a statement. “The expansion of our management team will allow Stages to effectively operationalize our continued work in equity, diversity, and inclusion and elevate our role in bringing diverse communitites together to share in art and art making. Thanks to the Elkins Foundation, we are able to create this new role which will also position Stages to further grow our education and training programs.”
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