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 bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


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