Egyptian’s new exec director aims for stability
About a month ago Lynn Suksdorf came to the Egyptian Theatre Company, quietly assuming his position as the organization’s new executive director. While the Egyptian’s board of directors had spent almost five months searching for the proper candidate, Suksdorf took the job without fanfare.
That beginning seems to fit Suksdorf. He is quiet and slightly reserved, but still friendly, and in an interview with The Park Record on Thursday, he spoke matter-of-factly.
He said his job is fairly simple.
"Dana Keiter is our artistic director and her charge is the artistic side," he said. "My charge is the financial side."
He and Keiter will work together as a team, he said. His responsibilities include the business side of the theatre its management, fundraising and finances. Half of his job will be to improve the fundraising for the theatre, paying particular attention to the group’s efforts to expand corporate sponsorship. Suksdorf said his other primary duty would be to make sure the organization remains financially sound which means more than simply selling tickets.
"’Seussical [the Musical]’ in December was very good," Suksdorf noted, "and ‘The Full Monty’ is off to a wonderful start, but ticket sales only cover a part of the cost of most shows."
To help raise additional revenue Suksdorf’s plans include increasing revenue through corporate sponsorship for the theatre company’s shows, strengthening the First Nighters’ Club, growing the company’s endowment and expanding its YouthTheatre programs, which should allow the organization to apply for a series of state grants.
Suksdorf said the additional funding would help maintain the quality of the Egyptian’s productions while improving the organization’s financial standings and keeping ticket prices low.
But overall, Suksdorf said the public would see few of the differences in the Egyptian or its programming. Instead, people will simply feel the organization has a more reliable foundation.
"I don’t think that they’ll see a chance in the face of the theatre or the shows that we produce," said Suksdorf. "They will know that the theatre is supported and will continue on in a solid, continuous manner."
Suksdorf comes to the Egyptian after years of volunteering in Park City and brings professional experience in the corporate and nonprofit worlds. Most recently he spent the last year and a half working as the government and corporate affairs director in charge of organizing corporate sponsorships and seeking governmental grants with the Utah Symphony and Opera.
Previously, he spent 19 years working as a professor at Salt Lake Community College, teaching courses like business law, finance and macro economics.
He said the experience in both the corporate and nonprofit worlds situates him well for his job at the Egyptian.
"Having taught contract law and business law, I have a sense of the relationship of these things to a nonprofit," he noted.
And with his experience seeking grants and sponsorship, he is familiar with the hurdles a nonprofit must overcome to remain afloat. So the Egyptian position seemed like the perfect progression after his short stint at the Symphony and Opera.
"This was just the logical next step," he said.
`Additionally, after spending time in Park City with his volunteer work, he wanted to become part of the town.
"I just thought this would be a wonderful fit for my life at this time," he concluded.
The Egyptian, he added, offers some useful assets, including its charm and its prominence as a Main Street landmark. He also noted the organization’s workers.
"I’m really impressed with the staff and love the respect they have for the company and the theatre," he noted.
All of those things make him appreciate his new position, and just as importantly, perhaps, he said he’s working on finding a place in the community.
"The community is making me feel very welcome," he said. "I can’t think of a better community to be involved in."
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