Penumbra Theatre Company (2010)

Penumbra Theatre Company (2010)

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Yale School of Drama
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Lou Bellamy, Founder and Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre Company in Minneapolis, had recently begun the slow process of planning for his own retirement. In addition to his own transition, his colleague since 2004, Managing Director Chris Widdess, had announced that she would be leaving the organization at the end of the 2012 season. In Bellamy’s fantasy of the theater’s future, everyone was devoted to Penumbra’s mission of uniquely exploring and exposing the African American experience on stage; new leadership was maintaining a balanced budget; the staff was enjoying competitive salaries; Penumbra had gained the national recognition Bellamy believed it deserved. Could such a vision be realized?

This case study explores succession planning at a theater company run by a strong founder. The case video includes interview footage of Artistic Director Lou Bellamy and Managing Director Chris Widdess.

Publication Date: 2011-09-13

Suggested Citation: Kate E. Liberman, "Penumbra Theatre Company (2010)," Yale Theater Management Knowledge Base Case 10-35, September 13, 2011

Keywords: Case Video, Theater, Performing Arts, Culturally Specific Organization, Succession, Leadership Transition, Leadership, Financial Management, Growth Trajectories, Minnesota

Teaching Notes: Yes (please contact yaletmknowledgebase@yale.edu)

About the Theater Management Knowledge Base

This case is from the Theater Management Knowledge Base, a body of arts management material created by Yale School of Drama Theater Management students and faculty, overseen by an editorial board of leading practitioners. For more information or for help in selecting cases suitable for your educational or organizational purposes, please email yaletmknowledgebase@yale.edu.