Dorset Theatre Festival expands year-round leadership team

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MANCHESTER — In light of a successful 40th anniversary season, the Dorset Theatre Festival has announced the expansion of its year-round leadership team. Artistic Director Dina Janis will welcome Marketing Manager Natalie Redmond, General Manager Marissa Hutton, and Producing Director Will Rucker full-time in the interest of developing the Festival's artistic, financial, and brand sustainability.

"Over the past few years, Dorset Theatre Festival has grown from `the little festival that could' into a regional hub of new play development and a destination for stars," Janis said. "Along with that reputation, it's important for the Festival to have a dedicated full-time staff to focus year-round on our mission and programming. We want to continue to grow as an institution."

The Festival will continue to welcome seasonal employees, led by Janis and her new year-round team, including approximately 50 staff, actors, and designers alongside 18 to 20 professional apprentices.

Rucker, who will assume the role of producing director, first worked with the Festival for its production of "The Way of the World" in 2016. The experience compelled him to return this summer for the Festival's 40th season as stage manager for both "Downstairs," and "The Legend of Georgia McBride."

Previously Rucker worked as a stage manager in New York City for various non-profit, educational, and commercial credits including the Atlantic Theatre Company, The Working Theater, and The Playwrights Realm. As a theatre educator, he has been a guest artist at the Yale School of Drama, New York City's New School for Drama and has taught Shakespeare and improvisation in Virginia juvenile correction centers.

Rucker received his Master of Fine Arts in stage management from the Yale School of Drama, where he was an artistic director of the Yale Cabaret.

"I'm excited to join Dorset Theatre Festival because of its dedication to new plays and its artistic momentum," Rucker said. "I can't wait to join Dina Janis, our forward-thinking board of directors, and the rest of the team in making the Festival a premier summer theatre destination. I look forward to growing our artistic community and attracting even more people to see great plays in beautiful Southern Vermont."

The Festival's new General Manager Marissa Hutton first joined the Dorset Theatre Festival for its 40th season as company manager. In her new position, Hutton will work to ensure the Festival's financial longevity while overseeing the Festival's newly formed accounting team.

Hutton has also enjoyed a career as an arts professional and choreographer, working proviously on projects like "The Dead" in conjunction with Irish Repertory Theatre and "The Tank XYZ" series.

"This is such a big moment for Dorset Theatre Festival," Hutton said. "In addition to restructuring, we've also secured the funding to create three new jobs in the arts in our community. The Festival is committed to reimagining what's possible, both artistically and organizationally."

Joining the Festival in February of 2017, Marketing Manager Natalie Redmond has enjoyed a career in marketing with organizations like the Trinity Repertory Company, Chautauqua Theater Company, and Detroit Public Theatre. She holds a Bachelor's degree in English and Theatre from Rochester College in Michigan.

In her new role, Redmond hopes to increase the Festival's prominence as a nationally recognizable destination for the best of off-Broadway theatre in its "charming Vermont setting."

"Dorset Theatre Festival's 40th anniversary season broke box office records," Redmond said. "I'm excited to deepen its reputation among audiences as an incubator for new work."

For more information on Dorset Theatre Festival's leadership team, visit dorsettheatrefestival.org.



Reach Cherise Madigan at cmadigan@manchesterjournal.com, or by phone at 802-490-6471.

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