COLUMBUS, GA.: Springer Opera House Theatre has announced that longtime producing artistic director Paul Pierce will step down from the role as of October 2023. Current managing director Danielle Varner will assume the role of CEO and executive producer, while associate artistic director Keith McCoy will become artistic director.
“Leading the Springer has been the greatest honor and joy of my life,” said Pierce in a statement. “But it’s now time for younger, smarter people to propel this amazing theatre into the future.”
Pierce’s career has spanned 46 years and more than 500 productions. He has led the Springer Opera House since 1988 and has directed and produced more than 300 comedies, dramas, and musicals there. A native of Rome, Ga., with a BFA from the University of Georgia, Pierce is also an Equity actor with more than 1,000 credits in American and Canadian stock, regional, touring, and children’s theatre companies. He is the former associate director at Repertory Theatre of America, the former managing director of Virginia’s Wayside Theatre, and the former producing artistic director at the Harbor Playhouse in Corpus Christi, Texas. Paul is the author of nine plays and The Springer Ghost Book.
Under Pierce’s leadership, Springer has achieved the official designation as the State Theatre of Georgia, the development of a major actor training program for young artists in the Southeast, and a production program that attracts actors, playwrights, and teaching artists from around the globe. Pierce has overseen two $12 million expansions of the national historic landmark theatre during his tenure and increased annual attendance by 1,100 percent. Pierce’s vision and leadership have transformed the Springer into a dynamic and widely recognized regional theatre company. In 2012, Gov. Nathan Deal awarded Pierce the Governor’s Award for the Arts in recognition of his long service to the state’s cultural life.
“I’ve done dozens of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, but working at the Springer was one of the most enjoyable and satisfying theatre experiences I’ve ever had, and that was mostly due to Paul,” said Broadway and Hollywood character actor Brian Reddy in a statement. “It has been my pleasure to know and work with him.”
Springer Opera House seeks to make every aspect of the theatre arts an instrument for education, community dialogue, entertainment and growth through variety programming, training, artistic development, and outreach. The theatre produces 11 shows annually with both local and national talent. It is the home of the Springer Theatre Academy, the largest theatre training program for young actors in the Southeast. As of 2021, Springer Opera House had an approximate budget of $2.4 million.
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