Northern Stage's Managing Director Eric Bunge To Step Down
Eric Bunge, Northern Stage's Managing Director since 2013, will step away from his position effective October 31 of this year. Alfred Blum, Chair of the Board of Directors, said that Bunge informed the Board of his decision at the Board's annual planning retreat. "Eric has been a motivating leader in the remarkable growth and success Northern Stage has experienced in the past five years," says Blum. "He will continue at Northern Stage in an important role, leading special projects that the Board of Directors and leadership staff identify as essential to fulfilling the company's strategic plans."
Carol Dunne, Producing Artistic Director of Northern Stage, recruited Bunge to come to the company immediately after she began her position in January 2013. Bunge joined the company in March of that year. "Eric has been a gift to Northern Stage since taking the leap of relocating to the Upper Valley almost six years ago," says Dunne. "His management of the building of the Barrette Center for the Arts was outstanding, and the new building is a testament to his expertise and care. We look forward to Eric's talents enriching the work of Northern Stage as we continue to refine the company and grow our capacity to change lives in the Upper Valley and beyond."
"Almost as soon as Carol and Eric arrived, they advocated for Northern Stage's building a new theater as crucial to the company's health and long-term future," notes Blum. Bunge led an extensive analysis of what might be possible for new facilities. At its meeting in February 2014, the Board of Directors approved going forward with building plans and raising the needed funds. The new Barrette Center for the Arts opened in September 2015 with the launch of Northern Stage's 2015-16 Season. "Carol and Eric were absolutely right," added Blum. "Eric, who had previously spearheaded building a new theater in a rural region of Minnesota, brought the strategic and practical experience necessary to head the project at Northern Stage. That experience, coupled with his and Carol's shared aspiration for live theater in the Upper Valley region, made the project a complete success."
Prior to joining Northern Stage, Bunge founded and was Managing Director of Commonweal Theatre Company in Lanesboro, Minnesota, for 23 years. He was Managing Director at Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota, when Dunne recruited him to the Upper Valley. "It has been an honor to serve three cherished theaters and communities during the past thirty years," says Bunge. "When the new leadership team arrived nearly six years ago, we were able to build upon the hard work and passion that brought Northern Stage through its first 16 years and help lead this beloved theater to a new level of success. This is a testament to those who came before us and to the faith and support of the people, businesses, and communities of the Upper Valley who make it all possible."
The Board of Directors is responsible for selecting Northern Stage's Managing Director. Blum noted that the Board has a process in place to select his successor. That process is underway, and at its meeting on October 23 the Board will discuss and act on its options. Northern Stage's Associate Managing Director, Irene Green, has been working closely with Bunge since she took the position in January of this year and will help ensure that all functions are well covered during the transition.
"We are delighted that Eric is not fully leaving Northern Stage and will remain a valuable resource for the staff and Board," Blum adds. "He has been a champion of Northern Stage off and on the stage, and we will continue to benefit from his involvement."
Northern Stage (northernstage.org) is a regional non-profit LORT-D professional theater company located in White River Junction, VT. Northern Stage actively engages its audiences with world-class productions and extensive educational and outreach programs in its new home, the Barrette Center for the Arts. Founded in 1997, the company has offered more than 150 professional productions of new works, classics, and musicals. Now in its 22nd Season, Northern Stage serves over 50,000 people. In 2014, the company launched a new play festival that has cultivated five world premiere productions and two Off-Broadway transfers. A robust educational program focuses on professional training in a nurturing and supportive environment for students of all ages. Offerings include student acting ensembles, a summer musical theater intensive, and an expansive theater-in-the-schools residency program. Northern Stage's breadth of programming supports the company's mission to "change lives, one story at a time."