Creative leadership changes at Whitefish Theatre Company

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A transition in creative leadership took place earlier this month at Whitefish Theatre Company with the departure of eight-year artistic director Jesse DeVine. DeVine had been employed by the theater company since 2011.

Theater board president Becky Rygg said the decision was made by the board during a May 20 meeting.

“I am sad for Jesse,” Rygg said. “The board decided not to renew her contract and I really can’t comment further than that.”

Executive director Gayle MacLaren also declined to comment further on the board’s actions.

Rygg said the company will be looking for someone to fill DeVine’s position but said that individual has yet to be identified. An interim artistic director may be hired until a permanent replacement can be found, Rygg said.

“The artistic director oversees basically the art side of the theater, the play selections, the music and outreach selections,” Rygg explained. “They oversee all of the plays, all of the directors, they do the hiring of all of the directors for each show.”

In a letter to the editor submitted by DeVine to the Daily Inter Lake, she wrote that although she was “deeply saddened” by the board’s decision not to renew her contract, she also wanted to express her gratitude.

“During the 10 years that I have been involved in productions at WTC I have been blessed to have worked with the most dedicated, talented and kind cast of characters in my 30 years in theatre,” DeVine wrote. “Having worked at universities, community colleges, professional regional theatres, high schools, and other community driven theatres — I know that the community that supports Whitefish Theatre Company is special. None of Whitefish Theatre Company’s amazing productions would be possible without countless sacrifices and support from so many different sources.”

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