The Players Centre hires new Artistic Director
After an extensive national search the first arts organization in Sarasota hires Lee Gundersheimer
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Sarasota, FL – January 12, 2022 – The Players Centre for Performing Arts is thrilled to announce the hiring of their new artistic director, Lee Gundersheimer. The 92-year-old organization looks forward to growing through Gundersheimer’s strong skill set cultivated over many years and in various areas of the theatre. He will begin January 18, to overlap the departure of 15-year producing artistic director, Jeffery Kin.
“After an extensive nation-wide search that began in the Fall of 2021, The Players Centre search committee and Board of Trustees feel confident in the abilities and many talents Lee brings to the table,” says CEO William Skaggs. “The Players Centre Trustees and staff look forward to learning from his guidance and the new ideas and processes that will come with his addition to The Players Family.”
Gundersheimer is excited to be back in Florida where he began his theatre career over 40 years ago. Raised in Miami, Lee is a graduate of the BFA program in Theatre at Florida State University and received his Actor’s Equity Card before graduating college as one of the original apprentices at the Burt Reynold’s Dinner Theatre in Jupiter, Fl. where he worked onstage with Sally Field, Martin Sheen, and Carol Burnett among others.
“Being back in Florida means so much to me, and even more thrilling is that I get to work for such an established organization like The Players Centre,” says Mr. Gundersheimer. “I have already begun meetings and am looking forward to making the most of my introductions to the Sarasota community so that I can begin most effectively leading The Players Centre into this new theatre-scape we’re finding ourselves in due to Covid-19. Being able to share clear, next chapters for Sarasota’s first performing arts organization and its community theatre is so important, and I’m looking forward to the chance to do just that. I hope you will all be as excited as I am and looking forward to meeting you all, and hearing what excites you about The Players Centre.”
Gundersheimer was based in New York City for many years and built his first theater on the upper westside, Avalon Rep, before he was 30. He then helped plan, build, and was the Producing Director of the Century Center for the Performing Arts in Union Square, where two Pulitzer Prize winning plays had their off-Broadway commercial runs. All the while working professionally, Gundersheimer taught academically in multiple universities, and for 10 years was the Industry Liaison for the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
He has a BFA in Theatre with a minor in English and Shakespeare from Florida State University and a MFA in directing from Brooklyn College. He most recently was chosen to be the first Arts and Culture Coordinator for the City of Winona in Minnesota. While in the position, Gundersheimer created the WINONArts initiative, branding, planning, and executing a city-wide creative programming series, oversaw grants and awards to artists including new Covid relief funds, leading a strategic planning initiative that drafted the first Arts and Culture Strategic Plan in the city’s history, and helping manage a capital campaign and renovation plan for a downtown performing arts center in their historic former Masonic Temple.
Go here for a headshot of Gundersheimer (photo be Jennifer Sterling Design): https://www.dropbox.com/s/ltxbru4erg60hpj/LeeGundersheimer.jpg?dl=0
About The Players Centre for Performing Arts The Players Centre for Performing Arts is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to entertaining, educating and engaging the community through high quality live theatre. The Players Studio, the education and outreach department for The Players Centre for Performing Arts, promotes inclusive learning and upholds the ideals of equality and diversity, while providing a safe environment for students of all ages and abilities to explore their creative side, strengthen life and social skills, and use different movement, fitness, voice and dramatic disciplines to embrace mental, physical and emotional health through the arts.
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The Players Centre for Performing Arts
1400 Blvd. of the Arts, Suite 200, Sarasota FL 34236, 941-365-2494, Fax: 941-954-0282 www.theplayers.org Box Office: Mon-Sat, 10am – 4pm.