Silverthorne Theater to have new leadership; Kidder to retire as managing director

  • Lucinda Kidder, pictured in the Silverthorne Theater Co. offices in Greenfield, is retiring as managing director. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Lucinda Kidder, pictured here in the Silverthorne Theater Offices in Greenfield, is retiring as the managing director of the Silverthorne Theater Company. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer
Published: 1/19/2022 3:03:39 PM

Two years ago, Lucinda Kidder announced her decision to retire from the leadership roles she held at Silverthorne Theater Co.

But like much of the last two years, things didn’t go quite as she’d planned.

“I had intended to step back and stay involved as a board member,” said Kidder, 77. “I was hoping to be able to hand over the leadership; but unfortunately, the two people who decided they wanted to lead the group decided they didn’t want to after all. … As a result, I had to pick up the reins again.”

Earlier this month, she announced once again her decision to retire as managing director of the theater company. In her stead, Alison Butts will step in as interim.

It wasn’t long after Kidder hoped to retire in 2019 that the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the community, and the plans she’d had for the theater season were put on pause, as rising COVID cases “shut the door pretty quickly.”

The theater company pivoted to online, performing its first remote production via Zoom and learning new, innovative ways to share theater with the community.

“We basically just kept going throughout the pandemic, and of course we’re still dealing with that,” Kidder said.

Two years since her initial announcement, Kidder is ready to welcome new leadership into the mix.

“I think there are so many wonderful people coming up into the community that need the opportunity to try other things,” she said. “I feel like I got us on a good footing for our first eight years.”

Eight years ago, she explained, Silverthorne Theater Co. started as a retirement project.

“What happened is it absolutely mushroomed and went well beyond what I had ever expected,” Kidder said.

With David Rowland, a longtime former theater director at Northfield Mount Hermon School, she co-founded the professional theater company in 2014. She and Rowland both had connections to the school, having been employees.

“We had planned it to be a two-show summer theater, and we initially thought we’d be doing it on the Northfield Mount Hermon campus, because we both have ties to that school,” Kidder said.

The company moved to Greenfield Community College before settling in its current location at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center on Main Street.

“Things grew very quickly,” she said.

Kidder said she prides herself on how far the company has come in the short time it’s been around.

“I think the most satisfying thing really is how this company … has achieved parity with the other, older arts organizations in the valley,” she said. “We haven’t been around that long but … we feel we’re bringing tremendous worth.”

Moving forward, the focus will be on fundraising efforts, she said.

“We’re going to raise enough and get enough sustaining support to be able to … bring the theater forward into the future,” she said. “The sky is the limit; so many things are changing.”

Kidder hopes the future brings more stability and less change, but much of that, she said, is subject to the pandemic.

“Things simply aren’t predictable at this point,” she said.

As for her, Kidder plans to remain on the board of directors, while welcoming more time to spend with her two children who live in Rhode Island and Vermont.

“Both of them moved back from the West Coast, so I’m really looking forward to spending more time down here with them,” she said. “I also have a garden I absolutely love working in and that takes — if all goes as planned — that’ll take time.”

She also hopes to do more writing and is looking at the possibility of helping other organizations in an advisory capacity.

“I’ve got a lot of connections with people in the theater world here in the valley,” she said. “It was a great place to do theater.”

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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