Friday, July 24, 2009

lounsbery: lost trust "concerning"

former skylight opera theatre managing director joan lounsbery weighs in from the west coast, asking questions of this board one hopes they have answers to:
To the Board of the Skylight:

As I watch the events unfold via the blogs of Strini and Clements, I have a few thoughts I wish to communicate with you.

As a former Managing Director, I focus on that position as it relates to the unravelling of the 50th season.

The Managing Director needs to execute the policies of the board, and as long as the current MD is able to do that, he should stay in place. If he loses his ability to do that, then he must be replaced, immediately. Obviously he has lost the trust of many of the artists who make up the Skylight artistic community. This is concerning. The question is, has he lost the trust of donors and subscribers? If he hasn't, then he has a good chance of building a new look for the actors, new production teams, and of course he is now in the position (with the oversight of a board committee, I assume) of determining repertoire. That is key to the success of the Skylight. It has the quirkiest repertoire of any company anywhere in the world, and few can negotiate that. Clair could, Colin could, Cesca and Stephen could, Chas sort of could, and Richard and Bill most surely could.

If the MD must go, then I think it would be wise to look within the community for an interim MD, and I think that key to that big shift in management would be reinstatement of Bill. It is possible that the Skylight can shift to the General Director model which many companies adopt, but, as a former Managing Director who worked 50-hour weeks running a big staff, running a building and its tenants, running a bar, raising money...further, knowing Richard's work hours, easily 60 hours a week....I cannot imagine one person doing both those jobs. Most opera companies of our size run 6-10 performances a year....3-4 productions total. We run 90 performances a year of mainstage productions, plus cabaret shows, plus ed. programs, plus the occasional Studio Theatre production. It's a very different animal!

A personal note. Maybe by now you understand the good will Bill created during his tenure with the Company. I will share with you that Bill called me several times a year, just to tell me all the good news about the Skylight. He was especially proud of the 50th anniversary season, and personally invited me to please come and be part of it. At his urging I had decided to come to the opening of Colin and Paula's show.

I had the deep honor of presiding over the move from Jefferson Street into the Broadway Theatre Center. My image appears on the ceiling of the Cabot Theatre, and the staff lounge bears my name. I care so deeply about the future of the Company. Please listen to the community and make the right decisions. I have every trust that you will.

From 2,000 miles and 10 years away,

Joan Lounsbery
Managing Director
Skylight Opera Theatre


  1. As always, well spoken, caring, direct and smart. Thanks Joan for weighing.

    We SORELY miss your oversight.


  2. Joan, I agree that the responsibility lies with the Board of Directors. They call the shots. At this point the managing director is almost irrelevant. If he can run the company the way they want it run, he stays, if not, he goes. But only the board can make that decision.

    I think it's notable that neither you nor Chris Libby called for Eric's head. You see this is way beyond the decisions of one man. This board has endorsed these actions.

    Ultimately this is where the responsibility lies - with the Board of Directors.


Inappropriate comments, including spam and advertising, will be removed.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.