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Playful People Productions Announces New Executive Director Tonya Suker

Tonya Suker has been appointed Executive Director, making her the second Executive Director in the company's 12-year history. 

Playful People Productions has announced the appointment of Tonya Suker to Executive Director, making her the second Executive Director in the company's 12-year history.

With the addition of Suker, and the recent promotion of Katie Yates to Operations Director, the nonprofit now has a complete year-round leadership team. Co-founder Katie D'Arcey continues in her role as Artistic Director. Co-founder and Executive Director Emerita Barbara Galiotto will continue to work special projects with the group as she enjoys retirement with her husband.

Suker is a well-known and highly regarded member of the Playful People community, going all the way back to the organization's roots at Mulberry School. She has worked with the company as an actor, parent, director, audience member, stage manager, and multiple volunteer positions. She is a long-time practitioner of Positive Discipline and thoroughly supports the existing culture of creating positive, inclusive, family theatre.

A San Jose resident, Suker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater with a minor in English from University of California, Irvine. She volunteers as the Marching Band Coordinator for Leigh High School and has been an active member of the Discovery Charter School 2 Founders' Committee. She has experience with fundraising campaigns and managing large, multi-faceted volunteer projects, and is eager to apply these skills to her new role at a nonprofit she admires.

"The Board is beyond excited about the recent promotions and appointments," said Diana Joseph, Board President at Playful People Productions. "Having such a dedicated and talented roster steering our company through what continues to be uncertain and trying times means we can all breathe a little easier, and focus on what we're here for - helping people play and have fun."

"I have long championed the Playful People Productions organization as a parent and performer, and I admire, respect, and cherish its founders," said Suker. "I'm thrilled to step into the role of Executive Director, and I see many wonderful opportunities ahead with our seasoned, responsive board, talented staff, and amazing, supportive community."

Playful People Productions was first founded in 2010 as a positive, inclusive, family-focused theatre company, and has operated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit since 2017. While initially providing classes, camps, and shows for kids, the company has grown to offer similar classes for adults, and stages multi-generational performances where family members can perform together. Most recently the organization has returned to its customary spaces at the Historic Hoover Theatre in San Jose, but is continuing some of its pandemic-responsive online programming (POP, Playful Online People) as well as On Demand video classes.

Playful People Productions aims to create an inclusive environment where all feel welcome, and where creative impulses are encouraged by experienced Bay Area artists. The organization follows Positive Discipline guidelines as well as proven child education techniques; continually works to ensure the safety of all participants, volunteers, and staff; and regularly gives families the opportunity to share the exhilarating experience of performing together. During the nonprofit's tenure, they have enjoyed frequent instances of children performing on stage with siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents - and have also welcomed adults who wish to perform but find local theater auditions and rehearsals do not fit their needs.

For more information on Playful People Productions and their programs, visit https://www.playfulpeople.org or call (408) 878-5362.

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