Kathy Evans Will Exit NAMT to Found Rhinebeck Writers Retreat for New Musicals

News   Kathy Evans Will Exit NAMT to Found Rhinebeck Writers Retreat for New Musicals
National Alliance of Musical Theatre executive director Kathy Evans, who has been with the organization since 2002, has announced her departure to found a new music theatre writers retreat in the Hudson Valley.

Last week the NAMT board and alumni were informed that Evans would step down as executive director in mid-June to begin work on a new non-profit organization, the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, which will provide residencies to musical theatre writing teams.

NAMT will begin the search for a new executive director this week. Evans will remain on as an honorary board member.

Located just two-hours north of New York City, the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat will launch this summer, Evans told Playbill.com. Running July and August, it will offer one-week residencies during its inaugural year for roughly six-eight invited writing teams. Evans plans to begin soliciting non-profit theatre companies for recommendations shortly.

The 2012 component of the retreat will operate on an open-submission process. If enough funding is raised, Evans also hopes to offer residencies over a longer period of time in future years.

"I've come to love new work as the executive director of NAMT, and I felt that there was a real need for musical theatre writers to have the opportunity to just work," she said. "There are dozens of these retreats for playwrights, novelists and artists, but very few specifically for musical theatre writers — especially one where they only have to focus on their work and not work towards a showcase or a workshop." The retreat will provide transportation, housing, food and a $300 stipend per writer. Evans is currently asking NAMT members and other established writers to serve as mentors for the participants.

"It was a very, very hard decision," Evans said of her decision to depart NAMT after almost nine years. "I love this organization, I love the members, I love the writers, I love the staff. When I spoke with the board last week, everyone felt an incredible sense of loss, but also an excitement. I was incredibly honored that they voted to make me an honorary board member."

While the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat will have Evans' plate full for much of the year, she will also offer consulting services to not-for-profit organizations by next winter.

"We are sorry to see Kathy go, after nearly nine years with the National Alliance for Musical Theatre," NAMT president Marilynn Sheldon said in a statement. "She has made a great impact on the organization, including growing membership to 150 organizations, leaving us in strong financial shape, and creating the National Fund for New Musicals, which has provided over 30 grants totaling $150,000 to our membership, to support their work with writers in the creation, development, and production of new musicals."

Founded in 1985, NAMT has aided in the development of such works as Ordinary Days, The Memory Show, See Rock City…, Vanities, Dangerous Beauty, Emma, The Gypsy King, The Story of My Life, Tinyard Hill, The Drowsy Chaperone, Thoroughly Modern Millie, I Love You Because, Songs for A New World, Striking 12, Summer of '42, Ace, Children of Eden, Harold and Maude, Honk! and Meet John Doe through its annual Festival of New Musicals.

NAMT also administers the National Fund for New Musicals, which provides grants to theatre companies across the country to develop new musicals for the stage.

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