Arts Organization Staffs: Another round of changes at the top

Two theatre companies add managing directors, and a children's choir makes a switch in artistic leadership

The historic number of changes at the top of Austin's cultural institutions continues. Two acclaimed theatre companies are adding managing directors for the first time in their histories, and an organization that has been catching the ear of Austinites young and old of late is making a switch in artistic leadership.

Austin Shakespeare has had artistic directors throughout its 23 years – founder Jeff Ellinger, Noel Koran, Paul Norton, Guy Roberts, and, since August 2007, Ann Ciccolella – but until now, it's never had a director on staff to steer the organization administratively. This week, Alex Alford was hired as the company's first managing director. Alford, who joins the company in July, will be making the leap from Austin Lyric Opera, where he has been director of board and volunteer services. Austin Shakespeare's production of Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Ciccolella, runs through May 25, at the Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theater.

Salvage Vanguard Theater had Jason Neulander running the show, artistically and administratively, for 15 years, but with his retirement, the company is splitting those duties between two people. Taking the creative side as interim artistic director is Jenny Larson, and her new partner-in-crime will be an old partner-in-crime: Bradley Carlin, a classmate from the St. Edward's University Theatre Department and onetime SVT colleague. Carlin returns to Austin after earning a master's in arts management from Carnegie Mellon University and serving as associate managing director for Anne Bogart's SITI Company. SVT's production of Jason Grote's Hamilton Township, directed by Larson, runs May 30-June 28 at Salvage Vanguard Theater, 2803 Manor Rd.

As Austin Children's Choir ended its season last week, Kathleen Turner ended her five-year term as artistic director. Turner, who raised the profile of the choir with such projects as the Shostakovich-centered Water Under Snow Is Weary (which this writer worked on) and The Odyssey, adapted by Graham Reynolds and Beverly Bardsley, says she had been contemplating the move for some time. Taking the baton will be Adam Roberts, who has taught at Zach Theatre and directed the Musical Theatre Laboratory at Ballet Austin Academy and the musical theatre training program at the Jewish Community Association of Austin.

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Personnel Changes
Personnel Changes
Leaving the Hillside, arriving at the choir

Robert Faires, Oct. 2, 2009

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arts organization staffs, Austin Shakespeare, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Austin Children's Choir, Alex Alford, Bradley Carlin, Kathleen Turner, Adam Roberts

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