Peter Culman, who for the past 32 years has been managing director of Baltimore's Center Stage, will retire at the end of June, 2000. Culman, 60, has held his post longer than an administrative officer currently serving in America's not-for-profit theatre world.
Culman said he had no plans to manage another theatre, but may work in another capacity elsewhere. He will take a six-month break after leaving Center Stage to consider his future.
Culman began his theatre career in 1960 as assistant to then Phoenix Theatre managing director T. Edward Hambleton. Beginning in 1964, he spent three seasons with the Barter Theatre in Virginia, where he acted and directed and, during his last year, served as managing director. He arrived at Center Stage in 1966, when the company was only three years old, and never left. His tenure has spanned the reigns of five artistic directors and 230 productions. Thirty-two years ago, Center Stage had an annual budget of $275,000; today it stands at $5.4 million. The theatre has not registered a deficit in 22 years.
Culman has also served at president of the League of Resident Theatre for two terms and as a board member of Theatre Communications Group.
Center Stage will immediately begin a search for a new managing director; Culman will not be involved in the search. Center Stage is currently presenting Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession starring Lois Smith.
--By Robert Simonson