The RiverCenter for the Performing Arts announced today it has named Norman S. Easterbrook as its new executive director.
Easterbrook will join the RiverCenter in September, Richard B. Hare, the chairman of RiverCenter’s board of trustees, announced. He currently serves as director of the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi, where he oversees a facility with 1,050 seats, nearly 150 events and 70,000 annual patrons.
“We are delighted to welcome Norman to Columbus as RiverCenter’s new executive director,” said Hare. “Norman has excelled in the Southeast and has a proven track record of success in the industry. His instincts are sharp and his influence will be transformational for the center.”
Easterbrook replaces William Bullock who will retire in September after more than five years as executive director. Prior to his position in Mississippi, Easterbrook served from 1998 to 2003 as general director of the historic Rylander Theatre in Americus. While there, Easterbrook completed the final phases of a restoration project, according to a news release issued by the RiverCenter.
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Easterbrook also served as executive director of the Imperial Theatre in Augusta for seven years, increasing revenue through outside booking, the news release said. From 1984 to 1991, he served as arts administrator for the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs in Tallahassee.
In Mississippi, Easterbrook’s achievements include production of the European and world premieres of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, hosting of the first 2008 Presidential Debate, forming the University of Mississippi Arts Partners to fund artist residencies and audience admission for underserved communities and serving as principal investigator for American Music Archives, a partnership with the Library of Congress to document and preserve music history.
He holds a Master of Science in Theatre from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ithaca College. He remains active in the Episcopal Church where he sings in a choir and often is a soloist for the services and Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. He and his wife, Margo, have two daughters, Matilda of Birmingham, and Lucile, a sophomore at the University of Mississippi.Easterbrook said he looks forward to building on “an already excellent foundation” in Columbus.
“Every encounter that I have had with the staff and board of directors of RiverCenter has been not only positive but filled with excitement about what the future holds for RiverCenter and its role in the community” he said. “I look forward to working with the gifted and vigorous staff and leadership of RiverCenter.”
Stephanie Pedersen, senior editor of digital, contributed to this report.