Director Ends an Eight-Year Run

Playhouse Executive Director Karen Wood attends the recent fundraising gala.
Playhouse Executive Director Karen Wood attends the recent fundraising gala.

Laguna Playhouse Executive Director Karen Wood, who successfully steered the 95-year-old landmark institution through the recession, will be leaving after completing her eighth season.

The search for new leadership will be conducted by Arts Consultants Group and the board expects to recruit a new leader in the first half of 2016, says a statement released Wednesday, Dec. 2.

“This is a positive moment of accomplishment for Karen and one of excitement for Laguna Playhouse as it is well positioned to look to change, growth and new opportunities on multiple levels,” the theater’s co-chairs, Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, said in statement. “Karen served the community and Laguna Playhouse very well and we will continue to build on her accomplishments.”

The Playhouse staged 325 performances and drew a record 80,000 people in the 2014-2015 season, which the statement says yielded positive financial results.

“Having navigated through these challenging times and with this new forward momentum I feel it’s an appropriate moment for me to move on to other creative opportunities that are on my personal horizon,” said Wood.

After running a deficit and forced to cut outlying operations early in her tenure, Wood revamped the Playhouse business model and welcomed other local presenters to rent the house. Besides offering a stable home to music, dance and band performances, Wood also recruited Ann Wareham as the Playhouse artistic director. In recent seasons, Playhouse programming has broadened from solo shows to more robust productions, all the while continuing educational productions and youth theater shows.


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