Theater: Changing faces

North Bay theaters unveil transformations

by David Templeton

From new faces on the management team to a new face on the company logo, a number of North Bay theaters have been introducing their “new kid in town”—and they aren’t just humming an old Eagles tune. As the seasons make their summer-to-fall change all around us, it seems like an appropriate time to introduce a few of those new faces to the theatergoing public.

At Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma, Diane Dragone, formerly of San Leandro Performing Arts Center, has just been selected to replace Executive Director Terence Keane, who departed last June. Since then, Stephen Hamilton has filled in admirably, and was the one to officially introduce Dragone to Cinnabar sponsors and press at a pre-performance event in October. Originally from New York, Dragone has also worked with Teatro ZinZanni and San Francisco Classical Voice.

“Cinnabar,” Dragone says, “has an incredible diversity of artistic performances, and it will be my job to make the community more aware of that. Petaluma is experiencing a lot of growth, with new people coming in all the time, so there are new people to tell about Cinnabar. For years, it’s been the ‘best kept secret’ in the North Bay. I’m looking forward to being a part of making it a lot less of a secret.”

Meanwhile, at 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa, Jared Sakren has been hired as the new executive director, a position that will work side-by-side with Artistic Director Craig Miller. Sakren—who’s been the artistic director of Arizona’s Southwest Shakespeare Company for more than a decade—comes to California with a stellar reputation as a theater professional and fundraiser.

“Jared is awesome,” Miller says, “and with him taking on a lot of the development and financial matters, I’m going to be able to focus on building the artistic and aesthetic strengths of the organization.”

In addition, 6th Street has recently hired Steven Piechocki as the company’s new technical director, a position that has gone empty for nearly a year. An alumnus of Texas Repertory Theatre, Piechocki served most recently as technical director of the Old Lyric Repertory Company in Logan, Utah.

“Till now, without a technical director, we’ve been piecemealing our sets together using local contractors, often not achieving the full potential of the set designs we’ve envisioned,” Miller says. “With Steven, we’ve got a fully vested team player, and he’s already proven to be a huge asset.”

And finally, Marin County’s own Ross Valley Players has made a major change as well, introducing a fresh new barn-themed logo after more than three decades of being identified with the previous one. Both depict the legendary red barn at the Marin Art & Garden Center, where the company has had its home since 1939. The most recent logo, with a prominent “RVP” floating above a distinctly “wild west” drawing of the barn, has been retired in favor of something that reflects Ross Valley Players’ more modern approach to doing theater.

The beloved company, founded in 1930, has been doing a lot of exciting artistic experimentation of late, and the new logo—bold, simple and fun—effectively reflects the changing face of one of California’s oldest continuously operating theater companies.

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