Meet the Team: Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Billy Russo
This season, Arizona Theatre Company welcomes David Ivers as our new Artistic Director and Billy Russo as our new Managing Director. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to get to know them better over the coming months, but in the meantime, they wanted to share some of their thoughts with our patrons.
In May, I formally accepted the position of Artistic Director of Arizona Theatre Company. I’m reaching out today to introduce myself but also to thank you for your continued devotion, dedication, and support of ATC. I want you to know that I hold these communities of Phoenix and Tucson, the great state of Arizona (my wife, Stephanie, and I honeymooned in Sedona and Flagstaff), and our collective citizenry in my heart already. Steph and I have two young boys, and we are enamored with your home. Aside from the heart-stopping beauty, the rich tapestry of diverse communities, and the awesome display of university and professional sports teams (makes me so happy), Arizona celebrates tradition in unique and wonderful ways. I can’t think of a better place to raise a family (though I’m still dealing with the rattlesnake thing) as we at ATC help create a lens for contextualizing our collective humanity. Oh…and…we should entertain as well…and we intend to do that in new and exciting ways.
So before I get ahead of myself, let me just say thanks. Thanks for welcoming us. Thanks for caring so very deeply about the arts and their rightful place as part of the heartbeat of any great city. Thanks for “weathering the storm” as ATC continues to find its mooring. And thanks, so very much, for opening your hearts and minds to what’s on the horizon. I’ll check in again soon with some information on season planning, a new initiative aimed at celebrating Arizona and Arizona artists, our efforts to increase diversity and gender parity, and an update on financial strategies as we pull forward to revitalize ATC and invigorate YOU.
A reminder too: While funding is always part of the equation in the arts, I’d invite you to simply purchase a ticket, see what we are up to. And while 2017/2018 titles have been chosen under the great vision of David Ira Goldstein, we are already at work planning a dynamic 2018/2019 slate of plays and events. So, for now, won’t you simply think about joining us and purchasing tickets to a season of plays? It’s even fair to dip a toe in and trust us with just one. You won’t be sorry. ATC will continue to deliver the highest-caliber professional theatre experience in the region as we strive to impact the national landscape. I’ll be around the theatre and in the lobbies, courtyards, and offices. I’m eager to hear from you – so much so that my email is listed below. Please say hi; please offer your thoughts. We will be providing all sorts of new and unique avenues for exchanging ideas as we actively listen to you with the hopes of learning more about this great state of Arizona. After all, isn’t that what building community is about?
Wishing you well,
Arizona Theatre Company
I am so thrilled to return to Arizona Theatre Company this year in the official capacity as Managing Director. I had the great privilege to meet many of ATC’s family of audience, donors, board, and staff during my time here over the last eighteen months as the executive management consultant and acting managing director. During that time, I came to have great affection for the Board of Trustees; the communities of both Tucson and Phoenix; and especially the talented, committed, and resilient staff of this great organization. During the search process for the new artistic leadership of the organization, I got to know David Ivers well, and it became immediately clear that we had a shared vision of the value of ATC in the cultural life of Arizona and the immense opportunities for its future. That, added to my newfound love of living in the desert and the vibrant and varied cultural lives of Phoenix and Tucson, I was thrilled to be asked to join David as part of the new Executive Leadership of the organization.
At the beginning of ATC’s 50th Anniversary Season, I witnessed a unique galvanization of the communities behind ATC, and the outpouring of support – both financial and of friendship – was beyond impressive and of a scale rarely seen in the American regional theatre industry. Because of such support, we were able to move forward with a season that was grounded in the belief that for an arts organization to thrive and be vital it must be brave and ambitious in its programming and – with fiscal responsibility – strive to bring its audiences work that is exciting in both scope and aspiration. We are thrilled to report that in the 2016/2017 season, subscription sales increased by over 16%, single tickets increased by 45%, the annual fund contributed income was 25% above the past ten-year average, and with the implementation of a multiyear Fund for Working Capital Campaign, the year ended with an operating surplus of nearly $1 million.
All of this success and forward momentum could not have been possible without the stalwart support shown by the communities in Tucson and Phoenix, and across the whole state of Arizona. David Ivers and I are well aware that there is still a lot of work to be done to place ATC on a firm financial footing and to properly capitalize the organization’s operations, and we are thrilled to be embarking on this next chapter together from a position of strength and growth. We resolve to live up to that belief and vote of confidence.
I’m sure you will be hearing from us in the near future about other ways you may engage with the company and support Arizona’s only fully professional producing theatre, but right now I just wanted to say thank you.
With deep gratitude,
Arizona Theatre Company