Richard M. Parison, Jr. Named Executive Director of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

The Board of Directors of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) has announced the appointment of Richard M. Parison, Jr. as the new Executive Director of WBTT, beginning September 8, 2014. As Executive Director, he will be responsible for overseeing all programmatic, administrative and financial operations including development and fundraising, marketing, human resources, finance and special events. Parison comes to WBTT from his current position as Executive Director of CenterStage Foundation at Richmond CenterStage, central Virginia's premiere performing arts center. He has held this position since 2010. Parison was selected as Executive Director after a nationwide search by WBTT's search committee, which was chaired by Board President Julie Leach and included Trustees Sy Goldblatt, Margie Nellum Lee, Howard Millman, and Marian Moss, with community leaders and WBTT supporters Audrey Coleman and Dr. Bernard Watson.

"We are very excited to have found Richard Parison," remarked Leach. "He has an extensive and diverse career in professional theater and arts administration. WBTT is poised for tremendous growth at this moment and we are glad to have Richard and the experience he brings as part of our theater's next chapter. The search committee was pleased to have attracted a leader with such extensive experience. This is something we are proud to have achieved."

Richard Parison brings to WBTT experience in both the artistic and administrative aspects of professional theater. He began his career at Cleveland's Great Lakes Theater Festival as Artistic Associate to Gerald Freedman. From there he became the Assistant Producing Artistic Director at the internationally recognized Walnut Street Theatre and later joined the Prince Music Theater as Associate Producing Director, both in Philadelphia, PA. Before his present position at CenterStage Foundation, for three summers, Parison was Producing Director at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA. He holds a BFA in Theater with an emphasis in Directing and Arts Administration from Miami University of Ohio and is a member of the Society for Stage Directors and Choreographers, and a Fellow of the Pew Trust's Young Emerging Arts Leadership program.

"I couldn't be more excited to join this burgeoning theater company at a very special moment in its history," Parison said. "I look forward to collaborating with the Board of Trustees, Founding Artistic Director Nate Jacobs and the entire staff to lead WBTT on this new journey of growth and possibility. Sarasota is alive with such a deep love for the arts and for this theater company - I know this is the right place for me to create a new home."

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