Joshua Midgett. (Courtesy Photo | Perseverance Theatre)

Joshua Midgett. (Courtesy Photo | Perseverance Theatre)

Perseverance Theatre hires new managing director to right financial ship

• Joshua Midgett, 32, aims to secure theater’s future after financial troubles • Ahead of 40th season, Alaska’s professional theater reinvesting at the top

Perseverance Theatre announced Friday it has a new managing director, ahead of its 40th-anniversary season. Joshua Midgett will fill a long-vacant position in hopes of steering the theater out of a fiscal crisis that nearly forced its closure.

Midgett will assume duties in mid-October. He’ll lead the theater’s business operations as co-head of the nonprofit alongside Artistic Director Art Rotch, who will transition from his role as executive artistic director.

The 32-year-old has a background in theater administration and economics. He comes to Juneau from a stint as the general manager of the Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, a position he’s held since 2015.

In a word, Midgett called it “exciting” to helm Perseverance in a Friday phone interview with the Empire. He’s relishing the challenge ahead.

“It’s going to take community support. We’re going to have to dig deep into the roots of Juneau,” Midgett said.

Six-figure debt had caught up with Perseverance this summer, clouding its future and forcing it to furlough employees in June to keep operations going. A $650,000 donation helped save the theater at the end of June and spurred an ongoing fundraising effort.

Employees have since been put back to work and management has designed a path forward. The postponing of the upcoming fall season, an increase in ticket prices and grassroots “Persevere With Us!” fundraising challenge to individuals and businesses are part of that path.

Midgett’s hire is the latest organizational change at the theater. The managing director position had been eliminated in 2011 to save money, Rotch told the Empire Friday. Since then, Rotch had essentially been working two jobs: molding the on-stage product and dealing with new hires, administration and coordinating with the theater’s board of directors.

Having just one person running business and artistic operations isn’t typical of a theater Perseverance’s size, Rotch said. Most mid-size regional theaters employ both a managing director and an artistic director, though some small and large theaters do have one person overseeing the artistic and business sides of the operation, Rotch said.

Under the new management structure, Rotch will focus solely on the artistic product while Midgett will oversee the business side.

“I can’t imagine one person doing both of those jobs, as wonderful and as capable as Art is,” Midgett said in a prepared statement. “I’m looking forward to working with Art as a partner, so that both sides of that coin can get the attention they deserve.”

Midgett has childhood ties to Juneau. The U.S. Coast Guard stationed his father in Juneau when Midgett was in elementary school. The family stayed for five years. He called it a “homecoming” of sorts, to find his way back to Juneau professionally.

He holds a master’s degree in arts management and a certificate in international arts management from American University in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the $650,000 donation, the “Persevere With Us!” challenge has generated $45,000 in new contributions since its June 29 launch, according to development director Erika Stone. The deadline for individual donors is Sept. 30.

In addition to Midgett’s hire as managing director, the theater announced Friday the addition of Shelly Wright as a new costume shop manager. Cameron Thorpe, a veteran of the theater’s intern program, has taken a position as the theater’s new company manager.

Perseverance is also recruiting a technical director, assistant technical director, and bookkeeper.

Midgett said he’ll likely focus on a few different priorities: reaching out to the public and reinvigorating the theater’s relationship with its board of directors.

But, he added, “I think that the first thing you need to do is to make sure you have exciting art on the stage.”

• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.

More in Home

Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé goalkeeper Alex Mallott stops a shot by Ketchikan’s Joe Larson (9) during the Crimson Bears 4-2 win May 17 over the Kings during the regional tournament at Adair-Kennedy Field. JDHS defeated Ketchikan again in state semifinals to advance to the state title game. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire file photo)
Both JDHS soccer teams are playing for the state title on Saturday

Boys to defend crown in rematch against Soldotna, followed by top-seeded girls against Kenai Central

A sperm whale is seen in an undated photo published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (NOAA photo)
Alaska fisherman pleads guilty to federal charges after ordering crew to shoot whale

A Southeast Alaska troll fisherman has agreed to plead guilty to a… Continue reading

Juneau high school seniors Edward Hu of Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé (left), Elizabeth Djajalie of Thunder Mountain High School (center) and Kenyon Jordan of Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi Alternative High School. (Photos of Hu and Jordan by Juneau Empire staff, photo of Djajalie by Victor Djajalie)
Senior Spotlight 2024: Three top students take very different paths to graduation stage

Ceremonies for Juneau’s three high schools take place Sunday.

The entrance road to Bartlett Regional Hospital. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Bartlett Regional Hospital looking at eliminating or trimming six ‘non-core’ programs to stabilize finances

Rainforest Recovery Center, autism therapy, crisis stabilization, hospice among programs targeted.

(Clarise Larson/ Juneau Empire file photo)
Both JDHS soccer teams advance to state semifinals after decisive wins

Top-seeded girls stay undefeated with 5-0 win against Palmer, second-seeded boys top Homer 3-1.

Mayor Beth Weldon (left), Deputy Mayor Michelle Bonnet Hale and Juneau Assembly member Paul Kelly discussion proposals for next year’s mill rate during an Assembly Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Assembly members support lower 10.04 mill rate ahead of final vote on next year’s CBJ budget

Initial proposal called for raising current rate of 10.16 mills to 10.32 mills.

A king salmon. (Ryan Hagerty/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Biden administration advances bid to list Gulf of Alaska king salmon as endangered or threatened

Experts say request could restrict activity affecting river habitats such as road, home construction

Dave Scanlan, general manager of Eaglecrest Ski Area, speaks to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Finance Committee on April 13, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Dave Scanlan forced out as Eaglecrest’s general manager, says decision ‘came as a complete shock to me’

Resort’s leader for past 7 years says board seeking a “more office-process, paper-oriented” manager.

Most Read