New Playwrights' Theatre is in the process of rearranging its administrative staff to put more emphasis on fund raising. The theater has until the end of September -- its latest self-imposed deadline -- to raise the last $45,000 of a total $200,000 to ensure its survival for another year. (Two $25,000 grants have been pledged if the theater raises $200,000 from other sources.)
The plans, already in motion, are for board vice chairman Dan Kiernan to leave his job as executive director of the United Labor Agency to become president and chief operating officer of NPT, in charge of all managerial aspects, most particularly fund raising. Current managing director Rob Wilson has resigned to take some time off, starting at the end of September.
In addition, artistic director Arthur Bartow plans to hire an office manager, a business manager and an associate artistic director to beef up the administrative staff. Bartow himself plans to spend less time in Washington than he did this year, working in New York on scouting projects for NPT and writing a book on well-known directors.
Bartow is currently lining up NPT's first production and said that other productions this season will include a new Elizabeth Swados musical -- this one a dance piece -- and a new play called "Thin Wall" by Phoef Sutton. He also said that negotiations are under way for NPT to function as a kind of satellite stage for the American National Theater.
"The first year (of his tenure) was taken up with survival," Bartow said. "The second year is for development. By the third year we'll start to see some of the fruits of our labor. But I feel much more confident than I did a few months ago."
Bartow said he is prepared to adhere to NPT's stringent production budget -- $100,000 for five shows. "We have to make doubly sure the work is good," he said. "We are not the place for big productions."