Perseverance Theatre’s artistic Director Art Rotch and Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Executive Director Nancy DeCherney address the audience during the break at the annual Wearable Art show in this February 2013 photo. Rotch is departing Perseverance Theatre this month. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Perseverance Theatre’s artistic Director Art Rotch and Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Executive Director Nancy DeCherney address the audience during the break at the annual Wearable Art show in this February 2013 photo. Rotch is departing Perseverance Theatre this month. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Perseverance Theatre’s artistic director is leaving this summer

He spent more than a decade in the position

Perseverance Theatre’s longtime artistic director Art Rotch is leaving the theater.

Rotch has served as the theater’s artistic director since 2008 — a stint that also included time as its executive director — and first came to Juneau to work at Perseverance Theatre in 1988.

Joe Bedard, president for the theater’s Board of Directors, said in an interview with the Capital City Weekly that Rotch’s last day will be June 3o, but he has offered to make himself available throughout the summer to help with the transition to an interim artistic director.

When reached by email Monday, Rotch wrote that he was not immediately available for an interview because he was with family on the East Coast.

In the release that announced Rotch’s departure, Rotch, who is a graduate of Harvard University and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, said it’s time for his wife and him to live closer to New England family and theater projects in New York City.

[After financial uncertainty, the show will go on at Perseverance Theatre]

Bedard said the change was not a sudden or unexpected.

“He’s been with us for a solid 11 years, and he has been working with the board for a while to see about finding ways to be closer to his family, which is back east,” Bedard said.

He said in his opinion Rotch is going out on top after a Perseverance Theatre’s 40th season, which concluded earlier this month with Steve Martin’s “The Underpants.” He said the theater was also in a sound financial situation.

That’s an improvement over where it was about this time last year when employees were furloughed due to debt.

Bedard said the board’s selection committee is working toward naming an interim artistic director. Negotiations are ongoing with a candidate, whom Bedard would not name, and an announcement is expected sooner rather than later.

“I’d say by the first week of July,” Bedard said.

After the interim director is named, there will be a national search for a permanent successor.

Bedard said a change in artistic directors could mean a change to Perseverance Theatre’s 41st season, but that is a decision that would come from the new artistic director, not the board.

“That is all delegated to them,” Bedard said.

Perseverance Theatre’s upcoming schedule was announced back in late March and barring any changes, is slated to open Sept. 20 with the world premiere of “Devilfish,” a play set in prehistoric Alaska.

[“Guys and Dolls‘“is a whole bushel of fun and a look at next season’s schedule]

Both Rotch and Bedard indicated there is openness to Rotch working with the theater as a guest artist in the future.

“We’re hoping to bring him back as a visiting artist for years and years and years — if we can afford him,” Bedard said with a laugh before getting more serious. “His tenure at this theater is going to leave a lasting legacy. Not just with the theater, but arts in Alaska in general.”

• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

More in News

(Juneau E
Aurora forecast for the week of Nov. 27

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

Harborview Elementary School was briefly evacuated Friday after a bomb threat was received at midday, according to the Juneau Police Department. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire file photo)
Harborview Elementary School briefly evacuated after bomb threat

Police say incident appears connected to other threats at Alaska schools in recent months.

Michael Carter selects chips from a large box while Kalie Purkey wheels their 1-year-old daughter, Oaklynn Carter, along the row of tables at the Southeast Alaska Food Bank’s weekly food pantry on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
‘New normal’ is long waits for SNAP benefits and long lines at food pantries

Juneau residents cite variety of reasons for being part of backlog of more than 12,000 applicants.

Constantine president Peter Mercer descends from a helicopter after a tour of drilling sites in August. Mercer said drilling work will be similar in the next two or three years, as the company starts to transition to more economic, environmental,. and engineering analysis that will result in a full plan for how to access the ore, which the company is shooting to release in 2026. (Lex Treinen / Chilkat Valley News)
Constantine Mining president lays out timeline for Palmer Project work

Project north of Haines at least five years from decisions about mine development, executive says

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A bit of a sun break as seen from the John Muir Cabin, submitted on Dec. 6. (Photo by Deborah Rudis)
Wild Shots

To showcase our readers’ work to the widest possible audience, Wild Shots… Continue reading

The Southeast Alaska village of Metlakatla. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
Biden administration could wade into lawsuit over Southeast Alaska tribal fishing rights

The Biden administration could jump into a high-profile lawsuit involving a Southeast… Continue reading

The gates are locked at the Pipeline Skate Park at midday Thursday, after Juneau’s Parks and Recreation Department announced the facility will be open limited hours until further notice due to an increase in vandalism and drug paraphernalia. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
City: Pipeline Skate Park open reduced hours due to ‘sharp increase’ of vandalism, drug activity

Extra patrols by police and parks staff also planned for facility at Jackie Renninger Park.

A car drives by Mendenhall River Community School on Back Loop Road on Thursday morning. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Woman, two children struck by vehicle while crossing road near Mendenhall River Community School

Victims in stable condition, initial investigation shows driver not at-fault, according to police.

Most Read