Stephen Richard Will Exit Arena Stage | Playbill

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News Stephen Richard Will Exit Arena Stage Arena Stage's executive director Stephen Richard has accepted the post of vice president of external relations at the National Children's Museum effective May 2008, Arena's chairman of the board Mark Shugoll announced March 31.

Richard joined Arena Stage in 1991, and has led the organization's financial, administrative and external affairs efforts for 17 years, including the launch of Arena Stage's Next Stage Campaign for the Mead Center for American Theater, "currently standing at nearly $108 million of its $125 million goal."

Arena's home is currently under renovation and expansion for 27 months. During this time the famed Washington DC not-for-profit moved its operations from Southwest DC to Crystal City of Arlington, VA.

While at Arena Stage, Richard, along with artistic director Molly Smith, was responsible for the solicitation and procurement of the largest single donation ever made to a regional theatre — $35 million from Gilbert and Jaylee Mead.

An already-formed committee of the board will launch a national search for Richard's successor shortly. Smith will continue to serve as Arena Stage's artistic director, while Arena Stage veteran Guy Bergquist will serve as interim managing director.

Bergquist joined Arena Stage in 1982 and currently serves as the organization's facility project director overseeing the construction of the Mead Center for American Theater. Prior to his current role, Bergquist operated as producer for Arena Stage where he was responsible for supervising the allocation and use of all production resources and the implementation of the organization's artistic vision. "Having Stephen as a colleague at Arena Stage has been an honor. Rarely in this day and age is a company lucky enough to have such an exemplary executive director for the length of time that we have had Stephen," stated Smith. "When I became artistic director in 1998, I was extremely grateful for his preexisting knowledge of the theatre's administrative and artistic legacy. Together in the past ten years, we have implemented new visions that will undoubtedly shape the future of Arena Stage as well as the American theatre. His talents have been a vital resource to the company, and he will be sincerely missed."

"Stephen's contributions to Arena Stage are both numerous and immeasurable," said board chair Shugoll. "The mark he has made on the company, and the performing arts landscape of Washington, DC., will be etched in stone with the completion of the Mead Center. We wish him well as he lends his considerable talents to another significant cultural development in our region."

"My decision to leave Arena Stage was a difficult one. I was in the wonderful position to consider an offer from the National Children's Museum because of the current strength and good health of Arena," said Richard. "We have broken ground on our new home, successfully navigated a highly complex transition and are playing to packed houses in Crystal City. I am proud of my role in launching the campaign for the new building, and in developing a diverse audience. I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead knowing that Arena's Next Stage Campaign has so much momentum and the company is moving strongly toward the opening of the Mead Center."

Prior to his arrival at Arena Stage, Richard served as the managing director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for four years and the managing director of Los Angeles Theatre Center for seven. An active member of the Washington, DC community, Richard has taught at both Georgetown University and George Mason University in their arts management programs and currently serves as the chair of the Washington Arts Consortium.

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