Silverthorne artistic director announces retirement

  • Kidder

Staff Report
Published: 5/22/2019 4:46:10 PM

GREENFIELD — For the second time in 10 years, Lucinda Kidder is going to try her hand at retirement.

When Silverthorne Theater Company’s 2019 season comes to a close, Kidder plans to give up her position as producing artistic director. However, Kidder, a 74-year-old Turners Falls resident, joked that her first retirement attempt — from her position as program director at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Arthur F. Kinney Center for Renaissance Studies — in 2010 wasn’t successful.

Instead, Kidder co-founded Silverthorne with David Rowland in 2014 with the idea of having two shows per summer at Northfield Mount Hermon School. Since then, the company has grown to offer four shows per year, now at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield.

“This was supposed to be kind of a retirement project. It just got away from us and became full-time work,” Kidder recounted. “It’s certainly way, way beyond what we expected.”

During the remainder of the season, which includes performances of “The Fantasticks,” “The Diary of Anne Frank” and Lauren Gunderson’s “The Revolutionists,” as well as a monthly play reading series, Kidder will gradually step back from the daily operations and board members will take on her responsibilities to ensure a smooth transition, according to a Silverthorne press release.

“The board views this development as a positive opportunity to plan for the next chapter of Silverthorne,” the release states. “We remain passionately committed to our mission of producing adventurous, thought-provoking theatrical experiences.

During the leadership transition, Silverthorne’s Literary Manager Rebecca Daniels and board member Carmela Lanza-Weil will gradually assume artistic and producing responsibilities. Both have had extensive theater management and production experience in regional theaters before moving to the Pioneer Valley, and each have directed two shows for Silverthorne.

“That’s a really huge load off my plate,” Kidder said of her producing responsibilities, noting that producing has become more difficult as the theater company’s shows have become more professional.

Theater has always been a part of Kidder’s life. She earned a master’s degree in theater education from Emerson College in the 1970s, when she also started a Boston children’s theater, and earned a master’s degree from UMass Amherst in theater directing in 2002.

“I’ve been doing theater all my life in one form or another,” she said. “Once you get the theater bug, I don’t think you ever lose it.”

Even in retirement, Kidder will remain on the Silverthorne board, with the title “co-founder emeritus,” and will continue to be a presence at theater events. She said she expects to help with fundraising, special events planning and publicity.

The end-of-season celebration set for the first weekend in November will also serve as Kidder’s retirement party.

Once retired, Kidder said she hopes to spend time volunteering with community organizations, join a choral group and spend more time with her family.

Kidder said she is confident she is leaving Silverthorne in good hands.

“Everybody on the board is dedicated and so many other people, too,” she said. “They very much want Silverthorne to continue and succeed. ... It’s a tremendous asset to the community.”

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