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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mindy Richardson and Laura Ekstrand Join Board ofNew Jersey Theatre Alliance



New Jersey Theatre Alliance (“The Alliance”) announced that Mindy Richardson, General Manager of McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, and Laura Ekstrand, Producing Artistic Director of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre of Summit, have joined the Board of Trustees. The Alliance is a service organization for the 33 non-profit, professional theatres in New Jersey, supporting them and the theatre-going public with a wide array of services and programs.
“We are very pleased that Mindy and Laura have agreed to join the board,” said John McEwen, Executive Director of the Alliance. “As leaders of two of our member theatres, they have in-depth knowledge of our programs and services, and we look forward to their guidance and insight.”
A resident of Hamilton, NJ, Richardson’s responsibilities at McCarter include human resources administration for over 100 full and part-time employees, artist contract negotiation, and oversight of facility operations. She previously served as McCarter’s Assistant Director of Production for nine years, and prior to that she was part of the McCarter stage management team. As a freelance stage manager, she worked at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey (now Writers Theatre of New Jersey), Bristol Riverside Theatre, and Opera Festival of New Jersey, among others. Richardson also enjoyed an ongoing relationship with Passage Theatre Company where she worked in several capacities.
“My home and my career have always been here in New Jersey, and I am very proud of the work that is produced in our theatres,” said Richardson. “The Alliance plays a vital role in supporting our institutions and theater practitioners. I am honored to join the board and look forward to collaborating with colleagues from across the state.”
A resident of Livingston, NJ, Ekstrand was co-founder of Dreamcatcher with Janet Sales in 1994. She has appeared onstage at Dreamcatcher in Sister Play, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Motherhood Out Loud, Shakespeare in Vegas, The Neighborhood, Shooting Star and many others, and is a member of the improv comedy group Multiple Personality Disorder. She has also appeared at several other New Jersey and New York theatres, and in films and television. Some of the plays she has directed at Dreamcatcher include The Electric Baby, The Most Deserving, 100 Years, Rx, The Language Archive, Blood: A Comedy, Next Fall, Distracted, The Pursuit Of Happiness, and Melancholy Play. She has written plays and musicals, including The Neighborhood (book and lyrics), Brink of Life (book), Whatever Will Be and many short plays. Ekstrand is a private monologue coach and holds a BA from Yale University and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA and the Dramatists Guild.
“I am thrilled to join the board of the Alliance, the service organization that binds all of the state’s professional theatres together,” said Ekstrand. “I’m looking forward to contributing to the excellent work already happening, and to bringing new ideas to the table.”
Richardson and Ekstrand are joining the board when several milestones will be celebrated. The Alliance’s 35th Anniversary Ovation Gala will be held at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange on October 27, 2016. The 20th Anniversary Stages Festival will offer people of all ages over 100 free and low-cost theatre events state-wide throughout March 2017. And, the 25th anniversary of the Cultural Arts Network Project, a program which helps people with disabilities engage in the arts, will be celebrated at a special ceremony in June 2017.

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