Monday, February 9, 2015

Staff Spotlight: Danielle Kline, Director of Development

The administration of George Street Playhouse, beyond our Artistic Director David Saint, and Managing Director Kelly Ryman, is divided into five main departments: Artistic, which is charged with selecting, casting and staffing each season’s shows; Production, which not only facilitates our mainstage productions, but also provides support for our education department and the facilities needs of our public spaces and offices; Marketing, which as the name implies, is responsible for getting the word about the Playhouse out to the public, and also responsible for producing most of the Playhouse's publications; Education, which is comprised of our Educational Touring Theatre, our Academy (which offers classes to children and adults) and in-school residencies; and Development, which is charged with raising an enormous part of our operating budget each season (ticket sales only raise about 45% of our total budget).

New Jersey native Danielle Kline was recently named Director of Development at George Street Playhouse. She comes to us with a wealth of experience, most recently as Associate Director of Development of the Big Apple Circus. Prior to joining the Circus (in a manner of speaking), she spent a considerable amount of time in Washington, DC, working with former Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on arts and economic development issues, and later moving to an advisory role in Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 Presidential Campaign.

Internationally, Danielle has directed projects in Afghanistan and Liberia and most recently with the U.S. Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan, where she provided fundraising, strategic planning, and communications expertise to woman-owned businesses in the local Kyrgyz and Russian languages. While living in Central Asia, she also worked with a Kyrgyz theatre company dedicated to raising awareness of pressing social issues like civic engagement, domestic violence, bride kidnapping, and teen suicide.

Danielle is a member of the American Democracy Institute and formerly a member of the Arts Industries Policy Forum, developed by the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University. Danielle graduated with a B.A. in Theatre Performance from Northeastern University, where she was a Matthews Distinguished Honors Scholar for critical undergraduate research and a recipient of the President’s Award for Diversity. Danielle received her M.A. degree in Arts Politics from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

Danielle took a few moments out of her busy schedule to chat with us:

What was your first exposure to the arts?
Without a doubt, I had a rich childhood filled with visits to museums, dance performances, and plays and musicals, among many other arts and cultural experiences. At the time, those moments seemed special to me, as I'm certain they are to many children. Now, as an adult, I know how fortunate I was to have parents who valued the arts and ensured that cultural experiences were a defining piece of my childhood. Perhaps my first fondest exposure to the arts was in fourth grade when I starred in Ming Lee and the Magic Tree, a play that I would love to see performed again.

Your background is extremely impressive -- what made you decide to enter the Peace Corps?
The through line of my entire professional career has been social justice and the more I learned about myself, the more I realized that I had more to learn with regard to selflessness and humility. I joined the Peace Corps to give of myself; however, I came home grateful for the privilege of living abroad in a second-world country, the privilege to learn Kyrgyz and Russian, and the privilege to live and learn from the generous people of Kyrgyzstan.

Someone with your background and experience could certainly work anywhere - what drew you to George Street Playhouse?First, I wanted to work in a theatre that values smart, engaging, sophisticated work. Secondly, I am a New Jersey native and this opportunity presented itself as the first I've ever had to work professionally in my home state. I couldn't turn that down.

You have a long weekend with no commitments -- what would you do?
With 6- and 7-year-old boys at home, I haven't seen a long weekend with no commitments in a very long time. However, a perfect long weekend would involve the opportunity to stay in bed for hours with a cafe au lait and the chance to read my beloved New York Times cover to cover. And yet, good conversation with little boys about planets and turtles while making endless batches of pancakes is equally as perfect.

We are thrilled that Danielle has joined the George Street Playhouse family – please join us in offering her a warm welcome!!!

No comments: