The Rochester Civic Theatre Company is starting a new chapter in their 69-year history. They have elected four new board members in an effort to return to a community theater focusing on local talent. New board president Emily Watkins, owner and editor of Rochester Women Magazine, along with Melissa Adams-Goihl, Missy Hagen and Larry Sinak join existing board members Chad Campbell, Ginger Carson, and Debi Neville. “It’s exciting,” says Watkins. “We’re looking ahead and reimagining what the theatre can and should be. We understand it’s a vital part of the Rochester Community.”
As a working board, members are committed to transparency in decisions. The first order of business was to hire Rochester native, Misha Johnson, as the interim Managing Director. She has worked professionally in theatre for over 16 years, is the founder of Immersion Youth Repertory, as well as the Arts Trust of Minnesota, one of the groups that submitted a proposal for the Historic Chateau Theatre in 2019. Johnson says, “I look forward to this opportunity to press the reset button and put the civic back in the Civic Theatre. My goal will be not only to produce quality theatre with local talent, but to create a home for local performing arts groups and restore trust to the nonprofit.”
“We are excited to extend a warm welcome to the community to join us, whether it be as an actor, audience member, volunteer or donor,” says Watkins. “Bear with us as we work to make sure we are proceeding in the safest way possible.”
Theatres have recently been given the green light to open at 25% capacity, and Johnson and the board are already hard at work on a plan to reopen safely as soon as possible with a 2020-2021 season. The cast of Romeo and Juliet will be returning to the stage, restaged in a COVID friendly version opening July 23rd, closing August 2. The new team is thrilled to also be able to now offer live streaming tickets for productions.
Also: In the spirit of renewal and collaboration, RCT is opening its doors to other organizations in the area. Watkins says, “We have a beautiful building and want to take full advantage of it.”
“I do not take lightly the real work that is in front of us all, but I also take it with optimism and excitement,” Johnson states. “I believe in RCT and understand how important it is to the community it has served for generations. Serving them is the ‘why’ that will fuel us all on this new path forward!”