Friday, January 08, 2010

Brian Doig resigns at Lake City

After the Lake City Playhouse season ends in June, Brian Doig will resign as the theater’s artistic director.

He will be involved with the Lake City board in the selection of his successor.

For personal reasons having to do with his family, Doig will be moving out of the area to another city in the western U.S.

“Actually, the Playhouse is doing well this year,” he says. “I would say we’ve made incremental progress as far as finances go, though we still have a tremendous debt.”

“I’ve gone back over decades of board minutes and financial records,” says Doig, noting that Lake City ‘tends to get into debt and then get bailed out. This is their M.O. They’d cut way back to a barebones staff, and the quality of the productions would drop.”

Lake City was “about $40,000 in debt when I got here” three and a half years ago, says Doig. “We are fiscally a little worse than when I got here,” he says — though some might say debt ballooning to $100,000 (as reported here on Nov. 5) is a lot worse — while adding that that’s due to “increased spending on things that are to our advantage.” He includes on that list such things as marketing, posters, programming, stipends and salaries. “The debt we’ve incurred,” Doig says, “is not because we have not been investing in ourselves.”

In two phone conversations, Doig claimed that over the past year, Lake City has retired somewhere between $5,000 and $12,000 in debt — “and we haven’t incurred any more debt,” he emphasizes. “We’re paying our current payroll, plus we’ve been able to retire some of our debt.”

As an indicator of the theater’s artistic progress, Doig points to what he thinks will be some of the likely casting choices for Jhon Goodwin’s March-April production of Amadeus. “We’ll have good people — people who have performed at the Civic and Interplayers — in that show,” he speculates.

“I’ve learned quite a bit over the past four years,” Doig says. “And I have developed great respect for [other artistic directors] in our regional theaters. Even though the task [of achieving success at Lake City] may seem daunting, it’s far easier to accomplish now than it was three years ago — if we can manage to keep the place open. But remember: It was scheduled to close four years ago.”

Doig has spoken informally with at least three people about succeeding him, but no one yet has committed to making an application.

Those interested in applying for the Lake City artistic directorship should send a letter of interest via snail-mail, directed to Doig’s attention. The board is evaluating some possible changes to the position’s job description. They hope to have someone in place by July.

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  1. Bobo, is this a paid position?

  2. Yes, though the exact salary is yet to be determined. I'll have more information for anyone interested next week. I'll let Michael know as soon as I do.