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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
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