Adirondack Theatre Fest Founders to Exit in Fall; Artistic Director Sought

News   Adirondack Theatre Fest Founders to Exit in Fall; Artistic Director Sought
Adirondack Theatre Festival founders Martha Banta, artistic director, and David Turner, producing director, will depart the Glens Falls, NY, company they founded in 1993 following ATF's 13th summer season in 2007.

"Dave and Martha shared their decision with the board last summer," stated ATF board president and founding committee member David King, president of the Lake George RV Park. "While we were of course saddened by their decision, we fully support their need to spend more time on their careers and family in New York City where they make their professional and personal home. We are all extremely proud of what we have accomplished for our community and region under David and Martha's leadership for almost 15 years. Thanks to their incredibly hard work we have one of the most renowned summer theatres in the region in Glens Falls, and a beautiful 274-seat theatre which resulted from their visionary use of a vacant Woolworth Store 11 years ago when our downtown was nearly empty."

David Turner will continue to serve as an active and essential member of ATF's board of directors.

A search committee for a new producing artistic director has been established under the leadership of board member Kate Broderick in New York City. The committee also consists of ATF board member Gilles Chiasson, who resides in Los Angeles; actor-writer Bill Bowers, whose show It Goes Without Saying premiered at ATF; former ATF box office manager Pennie Fike, who is currently creative affairs coordinator for Blue Man Group; and John Banta, director of special events for American Ballet Theater. The Search Committee hopes to identify a new leader for ATF by the conclusion of the 2007 summer season.

The board will also announce that a Transition Advisory Board will be established locally in the coming weeks to serve as a sounding board for issues raised by the transition, including the need to raise at least $30,000 per year for three years to provide an increased salary for ATF's leadership. A campaign called "ATF 2010" has begun to raise this transition funding, with almost half of those funds already being pledged to date. The Transition Advisory Board will be lead by Elise and Woody Widlund of North Creek.

"As our board has progressed from our initial sadness at this inevitable news, we have come to see this transition as a time of great opportunity," stated King. "New leadership can bring new ideas and energy to an organization and a community, and we seek input from far and wide on this process." ATF's board has also established an email address at, which can be used for any input or inquiries about this leadership transition.*

Martha Banta and David Turner, along with a 12-member founding committee, founded the Adirondack Theatre Festival in 1993 and presented its first 18-day season of new and contemporary theatre at the French Mountain Playhouse within the Lake George RV Park in June 1995. Since then more than 60 productions have been produced, over 500 artists and staff have worked at the Festival, and thousands have attended productions.

Highlights have included a benefit performance of Love Letters by Elaine Stritch and Jason Robards which launched ATF in 1995, world premieres of more than a dozen plays and musicals including Fully Committed by Becky Mode in 1998 which went on to be produced Off Broadway and around the world, Mimi Le Duck, a musical which was produced Off Broadway this past fall, and It Goes Without Saying, which was subsequently produced at Berkshire Theater Festival and Off Broadway.

In its second season in 1996, ATF presented a production of Edwards Albee's Three Tall Women at a vacant Woolworths store on the main street of downtown Glens Falls. ATF went on to use this vacant building for seven more years, resulting in its eventual renovation to the Charles Wood Theater which ATF opened in 2004 with the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Elaine Stritch at Liberty.

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