News Column

Children's Theatre of Charlotte hires executive director

May 1, 2014

By Lawrence Toppman, The Charlotte Observer

May 01--Children's Theatre of Charlotte has announced its new executive director: Hannah Grannemann, who comes to the job with a double master's degree from Yale, six years as managing director of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill and a double helping of youth and enthusiasm.

"I plan to do a lot of meeting people and listening and learning how the organization runs before I make any changes," she said Thursday. "I'd want to be responsive to how the theater is now, which is very strong."

The search committee went through 300 applications in four months before settling on Grannemann. Committee co-chair Jami Farris, who also chairs Children's Theatre's board of directors, called the 35-year-old "a rising star on the national scene."

Her hiring means the city's largest theater company will have people in the top two positions with less than a year's collective experience in Charlotte: Adam Burke came aboard in August as artistic director, and Grannemann will start July 1.

Yet she has been immersed in theater since high school. She studied acting at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, earned an MBA from Yale School of Management and an MFA in Theatre Management from Yale School of Drama, then became associate managing director at Yale Repertory Theatre. She came to PlayMakers in 2008 and has been a lecturer with UNC'sDepartment of Dramatic Art since 2012.

"I have deep experience in nonprofit theater," she noted. "That, combined with my MBA training and a broader look at the business and nonprofit climate, is a combination I think (the committee) found attractive. Children's Theatre works in partnership with the Public Library, and PlayMakers has a partnership with the University of North Carolina, so perhaps that was also a (selling) point."

PlayMakers, which has a budget of $2.7 million, does six mainstage and three second-stage shows; it has also has a residency program and a youth program that runs in summers. She's moving to a company with a larger budget ($4.1 million), a similar production slate, a similar relationship to a landlord -- neither troupe pays facility costs -- and "a very strong foundation: I was impressed by the staff, the board and the space (at ImaginOn)."

Her own kin may be her first clients: She and her husband have a son who's almost 4. "I've heard Charlotte is a great place to raise a family," she said. "Culture there seems to be flourishing."


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Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)

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