FST Welcomes Will Luera as New Director of Improvisation

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FST Welcomes Will Luera as New Director of Improvisation

Florida Studio Theatre is pleased to announce the hiring of Will Luera as the new Director of Improvisation. Luera has been working professionally in the world of Improv for the last 17 years. Serving as the Artistic Director of the renowned ImprovBoston and Big Bang Improv, Luera brings with him the experience of not only a director, but also a producer, instructor, and actor.

Artistic Director Richard Hopkins speaks to this exciting news stating, "I am delighted that Will Luera will be joining the FST Team. He brings excellent skills to our already burgeoning improvisation programming and this will allow us to grow the program to better serve our ever-expanding audience. FST Improv, which was started as a simple idea by Rebecca Hopkins, has grown from nothing to a year round operation of performances and workshops playing in their very own Bowne's Lab Theatre. Improv is now ripe and ready to take on new horizons and Rebecca has wisely selected an excellent director in Mr. Luera to take over as she continues in the role of producer. I expect to see the number of performances increase as even the styles of performances expand. I expect to see significant growth in our Workshop program in our downtown campus as well as expanded training opportunities offered to schools and businesses throughout the region."

FST Improv founder and Managing Director, Rebecca Hopkins, further commented on the anticipation of this new addition to the Improv program stating, "I am thrilled to have him on board at FST. He did an incredible job as the Artistic Director of ImprovBoston and subsequently with Big Bang. In addition his experience with both national and international festivals and working with corporations, show not only his creative talent, but his ability to lead. His understanding of all the facets of improv made him the ideal candidate to take on leadership of the program."

After graduating from Boston College, Luera went on to perform and direct in Improv festivals reaching from Chicago to Finland. In addition to his many performing and directing roles, he has worked as a part-time faculty member at Boston College in their theatre department.

Of his new position, Luera stated, "I am beyond excited to be joining the FST team this next season as the Director of Improvisation. I've been visiting FST over the last six years and have been thoroughly impressed with the improv work that Rebecca Hopkins and her team have produced over that time. Everything from the shows to the annual festival have been a true testament to their hard work."

Luera assumes the role of Director of Improvisation as FST Improv continues to expand. Rebecca Hopkins further stated, "We are going to grow FST Improv to its full potential. Last year was the beginning when we found our new home in Bowne's Lab. With Will coming on board we will begin increasing the performance schedule, and expanding the styles and formats that we work in. We will also begin expanding the education component. We'll not only be adding programming to our teen and adult workshops, but we'll also be adding in- corporate training. We'll begin expanding our bookings to private events and our goodwill tour."

Luera sums up his thoughts as he takes his place among the FST family stating, "I look forward to joining that team and contributing what I've learned and developed over the last 20 plus years. I've not only used improvisation as a tool to develop spontaneous comedy, but also as a way to assist scripted theater, storytellers, media makers, public speakers and more. I look forward to contributing all of those tools and more to FST."

"It is a very exciting time for FST Improv filled with tremendous potential," Rebecca Hopkins added. "It is also the best time for me to step back into the producing role and make room for a new director. My time is simply too pressed, as the Managing Director of the theatre, to continue to direct the program and bring it to its full potential. So while in many ways it breaks my heart to let go of the directing reins, I am also extremely optimistic about the artistic possibilities that now exist with this new position, and specifically with Will. I look forward to working as Producer on FST Improv as Will grows the programming. This will free me up to focus on the future of the program, while at the same time being able to expand my other artistic work in our Cabaret theatres and writing. It's been several years since Laughing Matters, after all."

Richard Hopkins concludes his thoughts stating, "FST has a history of taking on 'fringe forms of theatre' such as our cabaret programming and growing such forms to make them meaningful forms of art and entertainment to our contemporary audience. The cabaret programming started small many years ago serving a few hundred people. Today, we have two professional theatres, the Court and the Goldstein, dedicated to the form which serves an audience of over 50,000. I hope to see a similar growth with Improvisation programming in the years to come. At FST we are dedicated to Artists who are dedicated to audiences. Mr. Luera is such an artist. We and the public at large can look forward to new horizons in FST's Improv Programming."

Beginning November 15, 2014, Luera will take his position among the FST staff as the new Director of Improvisation.

About Florida Studio Theatre - Known as Sarasota's Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company eventually settled down into a permanent home, acquiring the former Woman's Club building -- now renamed the Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting contemporary theatre in its five theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the Goldstein Cabaret, the Gompertz Theatre, the New Cabaret Theatre, and Bowne's Lab Theatre.

Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience. Under Richard Hopkins, Artistic Director and CEO, FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world. As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.

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