NEWARK --Nancy Anderson, whose job as executive director of The Midland Theatre was about creating memorable experiences for others, will leave the theater to createher own experiences with family and friends.
The Newark Midland Theatre Association Board of Trustees announced Monday that Anderson willretireSept.1, ending 10 years as executive director and 17 years working for the theater. And, before she started working there, she was a volunteer, beginning with the first show after the theater reopenedin 2002.
Its beenkind of in the back of my mind for a while," Anderson said. "Im ready for something different. Im ready for a break.Its time.
More: Midland Theatre surviving shutdown, but full recovery will take years
"I missed a lot of family get-togethers. I'm looking forward to (family time) and having a social life again. My youngest was 4 when I started in 2004, and now hes 21 and serving in the Navy."
Anderson's departure continues a trend of longtime local leaders retiring.So far this year, the retirements includeEd Bohren from the YMCA,Babette Wofter from Licking County Library, Dan DeLawder fromPark National Bank, Marcia Downes fromThe Works and Robert Hoover as Juvenile Court judge.
And, last year, Barry Connell retired as Newark police chief, Joe Ebel retired from the Licking County Health Department and Dave Bibler left the Licking County Aging Program.
The last 15 months of COVID, I think, a lot of people have re-evaluated their life," Anderson said. "I have three children andall live out of state.My goal was to see the theater was back open after the shutdown.
Air Supply will perform at The Midland before Anderson leaves, on Aug. 13.
Anderson said she has many great memories from her time at The Midland, but tops are the reactions of people coming in for a show or children on a field trip.
I think the thing that brought the most joy is the relationships with the patrons, andas they leave with smiles on their facesI know we accomplished our goal to allow them to escape for a few hours," Anderson said. "And the kids, I just love the kids.The excitement when they get off the bus and when theygo in and look up at the ceiling.Its amazing the power of the arts."
The announcement from the theater board credited Anderson for leading the historic theaterthrough several financial challenges while creating impactful programing, from educational outreach to nationally-recognized entertainment.
Midland Theatre Board President Gary Baker said Anderson'sknowledge and contributions to the theater through 17 years has been immeasurable.
"She has been a steady force at the helm, a stalwart proponent of the arts, and a valued asset to the entire community, especially downtown," Baker said."The board of trustees wishes to express our deep gratitude for all Nancy has done for The Midland Theatre, the city of Newark, Licking County and central Ohio."
The Newark native and Newark Catholic High School graduate went to college in Florida, then traveled, got married and eventually returned to Newark.
After a few years working as a volunteer at the theater, Anderson was hired in 2004as a part-timevolunteer coordinator and office administrator.She later becameassistant manager andin 2012 was namedthe director.
She said two performers stood out as her favorites:Olympia Dukakis and Boz Skaggs.
"Olympia Dukakis, she was just an amazingly talented woman," Anderson said. "She was so kind and I got a chance to share a cup of coffee with her and she talked about Steel Magnolias. Such a down to earth sweet person. A great day.
"Boz Scaggs was one of my favorite artists growing up. It was so surreal standing backstage with him. He was very kind and loved the theater.
Baker said the board's executive committee will create a search committee to look for Anderson's successor.
"A lot of the skill set is the same," Baker said. "Someone community-minded, familiar with the entertainment contract businessand open to any new creative programs. The board is very open, as they have been with Nancy.
The ideal situation, Baker said, is to have someone hired to work with Anderson before she leaves.
Thats kind of our intention, but we dont know what the market is like," Baker said.
As far as Anderson's future, other than spending time with family, she said that's an unknown.
Thats the beauty of it," she said.
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