Jim Petosa, who has served Olney Theatre as its artistic director since 1993, will step down at the end of 2012, the company announced today.
“Everyone at Olney Theatre Center appreciates Mr. Petosa’s unprecedented commitment and artistic leadership and I have been so honored to be his partner and to work with him for the last four years,” said Olney Managing Director Amy Marshall.
Petosa took the helm at Olney shortly after it became a year-round theater, and has remained as Artistic Director through challenging financial times. An article in the May 31, 2010 issue of the Washington Examiner revealed that Olney was trying to handle a debt of about $6 million, and one member of the Montgomery County Council recommended that the theater go into bankruptcy. But Petosa and Marshall persevered, and Petosa now observes, “Olney Theatre Center is currently in the best economic position it has enjoyed in many years.”
Petosa scored some solid artistic successes during his tenure at Olney – most notably the company’s production of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, for which he won a Helen Hayes directing award.
“Olney Theatre Center will always have a place in my heart and it is ready for a new artistic director to continue its commitment for high quality theatre,” Petosa said.
Petosa, who is also Director of Boston University’s School of Theatre, almost left the company once before – in 2007, as reported by Jane Horwitz in her “Backstage” column for the Washington Post. At the time, he noted the demands that commuting between the Montgomery County company and the Massachusetts made on his time. Olney leadership persuaded him to stay, however.
This time, Olney announced that it “has begun to conduct a national search for a new artistic director who has favorable characteristics, strong leadership skills, and a deep commitment to artistic excellence.”
Meanwhile, the company readies for its holiday production, The Sound of Music, scheduled to run November 16, 2010 – January 1, 2011.