For area theaters, it’s a time of departures and arrivals.
It was announced Tuesday that Arianna Knapp, the artistic director of North Shore Music Theatre, will step down at the end of this year, making her the latest of several artistic directors to leave their posts. The search for Knapp’s successor will begin immediately, according to the Beverly-based theater.
Meanwhile, the Cape Playhouse – whose longtime artistic director Evans Haile recently departed—announced Tuesday that Mark Cuddy has been appointed to the newly created position of Playhouse producer and chief executive of the Cape Cod Center for the Arts, of which the Cape Playhouse is a part. He will begin immediately.
Another recent change came in October when Williamstown Theatre Festival artistic director Jenny Gersten announced she was leaving at the end of 2013 to become executive director of the nonprofit Friends of the High Line in New York City.
Meanwhile, a month ago, Dan Lombardo announced his resignation as artistic director of the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater. A spokeswoman for WHAT said Tuesday by email that no successor to Lombardo has yet been chosen.
In a statement, Cuddy called it “an honor and a privilege to become the steward’’ of the Cape Playhouse, a summer theater that he described as “important and vibrant.’’ In a telephone interview, Richard B. Hawes, Jr., president of the board of trustees of the Cape Playhouse and Cape Cod Center for the Arts, said of Cuddy: “We’re most excited to have him on board because he will preserve the history and will, with his artistic leadership, guide us into the future of the Cape Playhouse for years to come.’’
For nearly two decades Cuddy has been the artistic director of the Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, N.Y., a position in which he will continue, according to Hawes. In the announcement of Cuddy’s appointment, Huntington Theatre Company managing director Michael Maso described Cuddy as “a major player in the national theatre scene.’’
While holding down the Cape Playhouse job, Evans Haile had also served a one-year stint as producing artistic director at North Shore Music Theatre, and Arianna Knapp succeeded him there two years ago. In a prepared statement, Knapp said of her decision to leave her post at the end of the year: “With a new marriage and a new and larger family, I would like to spend time in 2014 focusing on working side-by-side with my family at our home in Vermont, as well as continuing to develop ongoing Broadway-bound projects with SenovvA, Inc., a company I have worked for, as a producer, since 2007.’’ Before her departure, Knapp will direct the theater’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol.’’
Bill Hanney, owner of North Shore Music Theatre, said in the statement while he is sorry to lose Knapp, he will “forever think of Arianna as part of the NSMT family,’’ adding: “As I begin a search to find a candidate to assume Ariana’s position as Artistic Director, I know that person has big shoes to fill.’’