Founding Managing Director Rich Whittington announces departure from Triad Stage at the end of the season
(Greensboro, NC) – Richard Whittington, Founding Managing Director of Triad Stage, announced he will leave his position at the end of the 2018-2019 season after 20 years of service. Following Whittington’s announcement, Triad Stage’s Board of Trustees adopted the recommendation that the organization implement a new operating model under the leadership of Founding Artistic Director Preston Lane, who will become Producing Artistic Director.
Whittington moved to Greensboro with his wife in 1998 to found Triad Stage in partnership with Lane. They raised over $5 million from the community to purchase a long-abandoned downtown department store and transformed it into the primary home for Triad Stage, helping to jumpstart the revitalization of downtown Greensboro. Since opening in 2001, the theater company has produced 128 MainStage productions, sharing their work in 2,854 performances with over 600,000 audience members. Triad Stage’s innovative approach to classics and world premieres and its focus on fostering a “unique Southern voice” has drawn the theater national attention.
“Founding Triad Stage with Preston and seeing it grow into one of the largest performing arts organizations in the region has been an honor and privilege,” Whittington said. “As we get closer to our approaching 20th Season, I think the time has come for a fresh management perspective to work with Preston and the Board as we continue to take steps toward resilience and sustainability now and for the next 20 years to come.”
Whittington added, “I will always be grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to work with amazing artists, staff, donors and volunteers over the years, and I look forward to supporting the continuing work of the theater in whatever capacity I can. This is an exciting time for the theater and I look forward to seeing it thrive.”
During his tenure, Whittington raised over $22 million in donations for Triad Stage. Those funds have supported Triad Stage productions, fueled the renovation of the third floor and the creation of the UpStage Cabaret, and financed the purchase of a 30,000 square foot production facility. In 2017 Whittington realized a long-held dream when Triad Stage launched a new Learning department, now serving 9,000 students a year.
He has also been a fixture in the North Carolina arts landscape, serving for nine years on the board of the NC Arts Council, where he participated as a member of the Executive Committee. In 2010, Whittington was honored with Downtown Greensboro, Inc.’s J. Edward Kitchen Leadership Award. In 2013, he received the Adelaide F. Holderness/H. Michael Weaver Award from UNCG for distinguished public service. Whittington was also a 2016 Artist in Residence at UNCG.
Reflecting on their long-standing business partnership, Triad Stage’s Founding Artistic Director noted, “When I first met Rich at the Yale School of Drama I had been searching for an Arts Administrator who shared my belief in collaboration, community and the creative process. I instantly recognized that Rich was the business partner I had been searching for. From the Summer Cabaret at Yale to our national search for a home for our new theater to the friendraising, fundraising, and renovations of an old Montgomery Ward store on Elm Street to 18 seasons of digging our roots deep in the Piedmont Triad and living by our core values, Rich has been my brother in arms. I am so deeply grateful for his leadership and vision and care in the continuing journey of Triad Stage.”
“When Rich entered my house for the first time twenty years ago, he was the first person to plant the seed of the idea of Triad Stage in Greensboro,” said Linda Sloan, the Founding Board of Trustees Chair of Triad Stage. “We are grateful and indebted to him. He has established Triad Stage as a strong, resilient, and essential contributor to our Greensboro art scene.”
For the past three seasons, Whittington and Lane have worked closely with the Board of Trustees to develop a new organizational model that better mirrors the collaborative creative process of the rehearsal hall. Whittington’s decision to step down at the end of the season accelerates the implementation of the latest phase of this model change. In Lane’s new role as Producing Artistic Director, he will continue working closing with the Board of Trustees to ensure the theater’s long-term success.
Dabney Sanders, current chair of Triad Stage’s Board of Trustees, shared, “It’s hard to imagine Triad Stage without both Rich and Preston at the helm. Rich has been such an important part of our success and we are truly grateful for all he has done to make Triad Stage what it is today: a true treasure for our community. We wish Rich every success in his next chapter and look forward to continuing our work with Preston to ensure Triad Stage is enriching and inspiring our community for many years to come.”
Triad Stage’s 18th Season continues with the regional premiere of Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s moonshine and racing inspired love story, White Lightning (January 27 – February 17, 2019), followed by August Wilson’s Two Trains Running (March 10 – 30, 2019) and concludes with Man of La Mancha (April 28 – May 26, 2019). Tickets start at $10. The 19th Season will be announced at a free public event on February 17, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at Triad Stage. For more information visit www.triadstage.org.
ABOUT TRIAD STAGE
Triad Stage is a professional not-for-profit regional theater company in the midst of its 18th season. Triad Stage has grown into one of the largest arts organizations in the region; become a leader in the local and state arts communities; increased our national profile and played a critical role in the economic vitality of our downtown communities. Guided by our core values of Excellence, Inclusion, Artistic Risk, Collaboration, Imagination, Rejuvenation, Community, a Southern Voice, Learning and North Carolina, Triad Stage is producing five MainStage productions in Greensboro and their annual holiday production in Winston Salem during the 2018-2019 season.