MILWAUKEE: First Stage has announced that managing director Betsy Corry will retire at the end of the 2022-23 season. Corry has served as managing director since 2012, as well as from 1996-2003.
“Betsy has had a significant impact on growing First Stage into the organization it is today,” board president Chris Marschka said in a statement. “We’re incredibly grateful for her leadership and wish her well as she embarks on her next stage.”
“It’s been a privilege to work alongside Betsy, and I have valued her leadership and collaborative spirit as we’ve overseen so many seasons together,” artistic director Jeff Frank said in a statement. “While First Stage will miss Betsy, we’re also excited for what’s ahead for the organization and the ways we plan to continue to positively impact the lives of our audiences.”
Corry’s leadership at First Stage laid the groundwork for what would become the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, where the theatre is housed today. She has expanded programming and grown ticket sales, and also guided the organization through the uncertainty of COVID, leading the theatre’s pivot to virtual programming. Prior to her time at First Stage, Corry served as the director of development for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and as the associate executive director for COA Youth & Family Services. She first came to First Stage as a board member.
“It’s been a joy to be part of First Stage and to bring performing arts education, training, and performances to so many young people through the years,” Corry said in a statement. “I’m excited to see what’s in store for First Stage as it continues to be led by a team of talented, passionate people who believe in transforming lives through theater.”
Marschka has convened a search committee to identify Corry’s successor. First Stage is working with Management Consultants for the Arts to facilitate a national search process.
As one of the nation’s leading theatres for young people and families, First Stage operates dynamic education programs, including the Theater Academy training program and the Next Steps Program for young people who have autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disabilities. As of 2021, the theatre had a budget of approximately $4.4 million.
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