The Playgoer: Dempster is Dead, Long Live EST?

Custom Search

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Dempster is Dead, Long Live EST?

In case you missed the coverage in the Times this past week, here is the story on the memorial for Ensemble Studio Theatre's late founder and artistic director Curt Dempster.

While it does seem Dempster had an...idiosyncratic management style to say the least, I do hope the increased "discipline" already being shown by the EST board doesn't make the place into just another cookie-cutter style non-profit boutique theatre.

One attendee reminds us of what happens in such transitions in the past, from charismatic founder to board-run institution.

Gil Shiva, a longtime board member at the Public, said a charismatic leader’s departure could, after the initial shock and struggle, be beneficial. “Joe was so hands-on, he didn’t leave much room for anybody,” Mr. Shiva said of Mr. Papp. “After he died, it took some time to get going, but the board became much more active, and we formed all kinds of committees and got people working.”

Yeah, and we all know how much more exciting The Public is now than then, right?

No comments: