A Letter from SBMT Board Chair Michael Paul Hirsch
As SBMT is about to close our 60th anniversary season, I wanted to take a moment to thank our first Executive Artistic Director, Sara Dean, and our retiring board members for their service to the company as well as announce our staffing plans.
Sara was originally hired as a Production Manager to improve the quality of our productions and bring professional organization and structure to the company. Over these last six years, she was promoted twice because of her contributions to the company and the community, exceeding all of our expectations and being the embodiment of SBMT’s core values of Quality, Heart, Growth, and Community.
Under her leadership and tenacity, Sara produced over a dozen Main Stage productions and hundreds of online programs with SBMT’s eStudio. Sara created our Workshop series that included in-person and online classes, educating and training our community in all aspects of the arts. She established our fundraising arm of the company and ran events such as Tacos & Tunes and our Sustaining Donor program as well as writing many grant proposals, all of which have been instrumental to our survival. Sara developed relationships and connections with the entire South Bay theatre community and improved SBMT’s reputation. She is ending her tenure on a high note with her stunning direction of The Spitfire Grill and performance in Singin’ in the Rain.
Though Sara led the company for only 10% of its existence, she oversaw the majority of fundamental massive change this company has had to endure. These changes included challenges from the pandemic, to funding, staffing & recruitment, changing labor laws, improving diversity, and scaling the company all while maintaining our core values.
Sara has done an exemplary job, and on behalf of the entire South Bay Musical Theatre community, we thank her for her service and dedication to SBMT and to the arts.
I’d also like to thank the Board members who will be retiring from the Board this year: Barbara Heninger (Co-Chair of the Development and Fundraising committee), Steve Sammonds (Vice Chair), Ed Hunter (Co-Chair of the Vision and Planning committee) and Aly Suleman (Co-Chair for the Community and Inclusion committee) for their service to the company. SBMT is always looking for new Board members to help make the vision for the company a reality. If you are interested, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To ensure no disruption in producing our 61st season, there are three steps the board has taken. The first is we passed an emergency measure to extend the terms of the retiring board members by three months so we can complete the transition process smoothly and without interruption. Secondarily, we are extending our contracts with existing temporary staff. Thirdly, I am pleased to announce that we plan to hire an Artistic Director and a Business Manager this summer. Job descriptions and application details will be announced soon. By the fall, the Board plans to launch a search for an Executive Director to helm the organization to continue the legacy of theatrical excellence you have come to expect from South Bay Musical Theatre.
All of this is possible because of your support. This has been a difficult few years and an unprecedented time for the arts. With your ticket purchases, season subscriptions, your annual and sustaining donations, your volunteer hours, and your kind words of encouragement and gratitude for our craftsman and artisans, volunteers, staff and storytellers, we intend to continue to serve you for years to come.
Michael Paul Hirsch