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NEWS: The Southern Theater’s New Leadership

Today, The Southern Theater announced the selection of Janette Davis as its new acting Executive Director. The nonprofit theatre in Minneapolis’s Cedar-Riverside neighborhood has been led by Interim Executive Director Jamie Schumacher for the past year; Schumacher succeeded Damon Runnals, who resigned in October 2016 to pursue other endeavors and ultimately take over the website Minnesota Playlist.

Janette Davis, the new acting Executive Director at The Southern. Photo by Galen Higgins.

Davis comes to The Southern with a variety of local, regional, and national credits. Local ties include work with the Guthrie Theater; in neighboring Iowa, she worked on the creation and funding of the Bridge View Center performing arts/event complex in Ottumwa, IA, including securing a multi-million dollar grant for its construction. She has also worked for the American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), as well as corporate consulting and advertising/PR engagements.

Mike Grosso, the chair of The Southern Theater’s board of directors, said in a statement, “The Southern is focused on bringing new art to a broader audience while supporting local artists. Our primary goals include introducing The Southern to new audiences, improving financial stability and updating our historic building.”

Davis emphasized the importance of reviving the institution’s legacy and building for the future, noting, “People are willing to fight to keep this beautiful historic theater alive and part of our community. I am honored to be part of that journey.”

The Southern Theater is also soliciting new board members. Two recent additions to its board include Seng Soumpolpakdy of Patterson Companies and Levi Weinhagen, a program manager at the Minnesota Council on Foundations. The current organization is based around one of Minneapolis’s oldest theater spaces, a 1910 building that has at different times functioned as a warehouse, antique shop, and second stage for the Guthrie Theater. The Southern Theater Foundation was established as a nonprofit in 1983 and plays host to a wide variety of dance, theatre, and music programming every year.

Twin Cities Arts Reader