As Park Square Theatre opens its 37th Season on September 1, a new leadership team steps forward while the organization moves closer to opening its new additional stage in 2013.
Park Square’s new Executive Director, C. Michael-jon Pease, has been with the theatre for seven years, initially as the organization’s first Development Director and for the last five years as the organization’s first External Relations Director, overseeing development, marketing, and public relations. As Executive Director, he and Artistic Director Richard Cook, a 33-year veteran with the Theatre, will serve as the senior leadership team, reporting to the Board of Directors.
“The Board is delighted to welcome Michael-jon into his new role, and we look forward to working together with him and Richard as Park Square enters the next stage in its life,” said Jeff Johnson, Chair of the Board of Directors. “Michael-jon brings a wealth of nonprofit leadership experience and is a proven fundraiser.”
“I would also like to congratulate Steven Lockwood on his retirement,” Johnson continues. “Steven has been at the heart of Park Square’s success and growth over many decades. His passion for the theatre and drive for excellence will be missed, but not forgotten.”
Retiring Executive Director Steven Kent Lockwood has been a staff member with Park Square Theatre since 1980, and has served as Executive Director since 1995. Initially hired to direct Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing at the newly incorporated nonprofit Park Square Theatre, Lockwood wore the hats of director, costume designer and actor before he moved in to manage the business side of the theatre. As he finishes his career, he leaves an organization that has grown to a $2.3 million budget, and employs more actors and serves more audiences than ever before in history. In the season that just closed, Park Square produced 235 performances of 10 productions, serving 60,000 audience members (including 21,500 teens) and earned more than $1.3 million in ticket revenue.
“As I get ready to walk out the door after these many years with Park Square, I feel that I have taken the theatre as far as I can,” reflects Lockwood. “Park Square is entering a new era, and it is now time for others to make the changes that are required by growth. I am very happy to retire, and I have so many things I want to do. I feel I am leaving the theatre in good hands under the leadership of Richard and Michael-jon.”
During Pease’s tenure as External Relations Director, the theatre has grown consistently throughout the recession: audiences are up 33%, the artist roster has nearly doubled, the overall business has grown 27%, and $3.6 million has been contributed toward the $4.2 million goal to add an additional 200-seat stage to Park Square’s facility.
Pease came to Minnesota from Newport, RI, in 1992 to pursue his Masters in Arts Administration from St. Mary’s University in Winona. He began his Minnesota career as the founding executive director of Cornucopia Art Center in Lanesboro, where he was recognized by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council as its 1999 Arts Administrator of the Year and by the Minnesota State Arts Board as a leader in rural arts development.
Pease is a full-fledged “Twin Citian,” having recently purchased a historic 1884 home just over the High Bridge on Saint Paul’s West Side after years of residing in the Crocus Hill neighborhood. He is an active member of the Saint Paul Rotary, a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Minnesota and captain of the Cheeseborough Blues, the University Club of Saint Paul’s Croquet team with roots that go back to 1913.
Sheri J. Zigan joins Park Square as its first full-time Finance & Administration Director. Zigan moves to Park Square after 30 years with Neighborhood House, a Saint Paul nonprofit human services agency, where she was the Vice President of Finance and Operations and the Director of Human Resources, also serving as Interim Executive Director for two years. Her background combines experience in finance, human resources, change management, team development and growth. Zigan is a member of the National Association for Female Executives, a graduate of Leadership Saint Paul and received the STAR Award for leadership and outstanding commitment on the West Side of St. Paul for the Riverview Economic Development Association (Producer of the Cinco de Mayo Festival).