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Civic Theatre Announces Innovative Organizational Changes


The Theatre announced that Allyson Paris, who has served as Associate Director since 2015, will transition to a new role as the company's first sole Artistic Director.

Civic Theatre Announces Innovative Organizational Changes

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre today announced innovative structural changes in leadership and staffing ahead of its 2021-22 season, which opens with the musical Once (September 17th - October 3rd, 2021).

During the 2020 shutdown of arts organizations around the world, the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre Board of Directors examined the Theatre's role and place within the community while forming multiple new committees, each of which has served and will continue to serve a critical role in adequately positioning Civic Theatre for the next century. Civic Theatre will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2025.

The Theatre announced that Allyson Paris, who has served as Associate Director since 2015, will transition to a new role as the first sole Artistic Director in Grand Rapids Civic Theatre's history. Since joining the staff six years ago, Paris has fostered incredible growth in the School of Theatre Arts, and has proven time and again her immense creative ability as an artist and director. Prior to joining the Civic team, Paris received her Master's in Fine Arts in Directing Asian Theatre from University of Hawaii, and spent five years as Education Coordinator at Hawaii Opera Theatre. Under new leadership structure, Paris will oversee all of the programming and educational initiatives of the Theatre, including all of the Theatre's productions and the entirety of the School of Theatre Arts.

"Civic Theatre holds a special place in the hearts of our West Michigan community, and I'm proud and honored to be part of an organization committed to making the arts accessible to everyone," Paris said. "As we approach the one hundredth anniversary of Civic, I look forward to working with our community to plot a course for the next one hundred years."

Paris makes up one-third of the Theatre's Executive Leadership Team. Leading the organization since 1999, Bruce Tinker will transition from the dual role of Executive and Artistic Director to sole Executive Director. As Executive Director, Tinker will oversee all of the business functions of the Theatre from financial endeavors and community partnerships to the physical and facility needs of the theatre, which includes capital improvements, stewardship of Civic's century-old spaces, and partnerships with vendors, contractors, and others who help keep the Theatre in peak physical and structural condition.

Rounding out the Executive Leadership Team is Ben Greene, who joined the Theatre in 2019 as Director of Marketing and Engagement. Greene will retain his current title and responsibilities, which includes continuing the oversight of all marketing, communication, and development functions of the Theatre, as well as the expanded supervision of Box Office, front of house, and Audience Experience functions.

In addition to this exciting change in the organization's leadership, the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre staff has grown exponentially, welcoming eight new team members in the areas of Audience Experience, Customer Service, Education, and Marketing and Communications in 2021. Joining the staff this fall will be a new Volunteer Coordinator, who will help to manage the Theatre's 600 volunteers.

Tinker emphasized the forward-thinking approach the Theatre has taken in the last eighteen months. "It is my sincere hope that these changes will serve Civic Theatre well in the months and years ahead, and will allow us to remain focused and recommitted to our mission of educating, entertaining, and engaging our community through the Theatre Arts," he said.

To learn about how these exciting changes were inspired, and more about the new members of the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre staff, visit

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