Matrix Theatre Company Founder & CEO to Retire

By: Aug. 12, 2015

After 24 years of dedication to Matrix Theatre Company, founder and CEO, Dr. Shaun Nethercott is retiring from her leadership position effective September 30, 2015. Upon her retirement, Dr. Nethercott will travel to Wyoming to spend time with her family, and continue her writing work.

The Matrix Theatre Company Board of Directors is conducting a national search for Dr. Nethercott's replacement and has retained Cobblestone Solutions, LLC to assist during this transitional period. The nonprofit independent theatre group had been planning the leadership transition process through its comprehensive strategic planning for the past year.

"Shaun has shaped Matrix Theatre Company into an organization focused on creating theatre as an instrument of transformation," said Suzanne Sattler, IHM, President of Matrix's Board of Directors. "Board members and community members are attracted to Matrix Theatre Company because of this compelling vision. We are very grateful to her for tending this vision with great energy and commitment for 24 years and pledge ourselves to continue this great work."

Dr. Nethercott has led Matrix Theatre Company since its inception and has used her considerable knowledge of theatre, social, and educational practice to build the organization into a thriving non-profit arts organization. Since its founding, Matrix Theatre Company has created theatre and used it to deeply engage audiences, build community, and foster social justice. Under her leadership, Matrix Theatre Company has grown from a grassroots project-based theatre into a fully functioning producing and educational theatre, boasting a Mainstage and Second Stage season of plays each year, and a School of Theatre serving youth ages 5 - 19.

"I have been blessed to do work that I deeply believe in, in a community I love, and in a manner which has allowed me to see growth and transformation every day of my life," said Dr. Nethercott. "After 29 years in the theatre, and 24 years at Matrix, I look forward to traveling with my husband, spending a lot more time writing, and helping my aging mother through a particularly difficult period. I have nothing but excitement at the future prospects for Matrix Theatre Company. The staff, most of whom have worked here many years, are exceptionally gifted, committed, and creative. The mission and work of Matrix can do nothing but grow in their capable hands."

Throughout its history, Matrix has seen the creation and performance of 157 new plays, which have involved more than 15,000 people, and have been seen by an audience of more than 100,000. Matrix Theatre Company and Dr. Nethercott have won many awards over the last 24 years including the Arts in Education Award from the Wayne County Council for Arts, History, and Humanities, the Marygrove College Theresa Maxis Award for Social Justice, the Governor's Art Award for Arts Organizations, and the National Mayors Conference's Christina Mattin Arts Award for work with at-risk youth.

Matrix Theatre Company begins its 25th Anniversary Season in September. The recently announced Mainstage Season features four exciting and socially relevant plays.

Matrix has commissioned internationally renowned playwright Caridad Svich to write an original bilingual play inspired by the spirit of southwest Detroit. This play agua de luna (psalms for the rouge) will make its world premiere at Matrix in February of 2016. Low Hanging Fruit produced in partnership with The Theatre Company at University of Detroit Mercy will see its Midwestern premiere in March of 2016 at the downtown YMCA's Marlene Boll Theatre.

The Matrix Writers Circle, the theatre's resident collective playwriting group, has seen its membership soar and is in the process of creating their next play. Story-gathering events are scheduled for the fall to facilitate the writing of their forthcoming script. The Matrix School of Theatre begins its newest three year initiative, D*Versity, which will examine the importance of and celebrate diversity. This topic will inspire the work done in the classes taught at the theatre and elsewhere at schools and community centers.

"As we see artists being drawn to Detroit from across the U. S.," said Sattler, "the board looks forward to working with them and our staff to expand the outreach of Matrix well into the future."


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