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Shainin out, Sivitz in as BPA announces shakeup

The organization will be managed by a new ‘triumvirate’ of theater veterans.

Bainbridge Performing Arts announced an organizational shift Friday with the resignation of managing director Christopher Shainin and creation of a new management “triumvirate.”

Susan Sivitz will succeed Shainin at managing director, to be joined by new artistic director Steven Fogell and operations director Kim Failla.

BPA Board president John Ellis said that the change, which was made with an eye toward BPA’s current and future role in the city’s cultural planning efforts, builds on the organization’s expertise to create “a very strong triangle.”

“We looked to our strengths in the organization, and we have great strength with Susan and her long-time involvement in the community,” Ellis said. “Kim has again long-time involvement in the community and knows so much about how everything works in the BPA.

“And we’re delighted to have Steven back. He’s one of the most talented and creative people I’ve met, and he brings a lot of creative and organizational skills to the artistic vision of the organization.”

Shainin, who served just 18 months and one full season as the theater’s managing director, “resigned to pursue new opportunities” BPA said in a statement.

Shainin did not immediately return calls for comment.

Sivitz served as BPA development director for the past year, while her personal involvement with the organization goes back 17 years. In her new role, she will continue to oversee fund-raising.

But she also wants to strengthen BPA’s collaboration with other cultural entities such as the Bainbridge Youth Orchestra, the Bainbridge Chorale, Island Theatre and dance groups, she said, while at the same time assisting non-profit organizations in their fund-raising efforts.

Sivitz pointed to recent examples such as the BPA Declassified benefit for Camp Siberia and a screening of “The Cats of Mirikitani” to benefit the Nikkei Internment and Exclusion Memorial.

“Our goals as an organization are really to continue to engage the community,” she said. “We provide opportunities for folks to come into the organization and perform for the community in music, theater, dance and education. But we also give back to the community.”

BPA hasn’t had an artistic director for a decade, but Sivitz said dividing responsibilities with such a position is typical for arts organizations. Fogell comes to the role after many years and several positions at BPA, from his first job designing costumes for “The Little Prince” in 1996 to directing roughly 65 productions to serving as Theatre School director.

While he acknowledged that Bain­bridge patrons want to see acts coming in from Seattle and other locales, he also said there has to be a reason to bring them here. Islanders really want to see other islanders in productions, he said.

“I’ve been a part of Bainbridge for over a decade now, and I do feel like I have a tap on what both the youths on the island are looking for and what the adults are looking for,” he said. “My goal is to broaden the bank of the talent that is here, and suppment what isn’t available on the island with what is brought in. And then you do have this nice, full picture.”

Shainin’s resignation, Ellis said, “speaks for itself. He’s got some other opportunities that he’s pursuing, and he wants to attend to those, and we wish him well on that. He’s a great guy, and we really liked what (he) brought to the organization.”

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