2017-18 Season Wrap-Up

by Managing Director Julie Swenson

Six months. It’s only been six months since I started as Managing Director of Forward Theater but what a six months it has been! That’s two productions, three board meetings, three finance and governance committee meetings, 6 literary committee meetings, 6 advisory company meetings, one annual board retreat, one staff retreat and many, many sponsorship meetings and lunches. I’ve joined the downtown Rotary and I’m a member of Leadership Greater Madison, Class 25.

And, gosh, am I loving every minute of it! I expected to have to put out a couple of fires, but I have found that Forward has its act together. We’re in a fantastic financial situation, we’ve approved our third strategic plan and the productions—Exit Strategy, Marjorie Prime and a reading of Natural Shocks—were successful both in ticket sales and audience response. And speaking of audiences, what a smart, engaged, and loyal group they are. I’ve enjoyed meeting them before the performances and getting to know them at lunches and events.

But my happiness is only as good as the staff I’m working with- and I am joyous. Jen Gray is the perfect partner, Julia Nicholas is a rock star Director of Development, Scott Haden is my sports buddy and an extraordinary Director of Marketing, Artistic Associate Karen Moeller is crazy smart and an organizational wonder, Alex Moskoff keeps our books in order with fun and flair, and Celia Klehr, our Company Manager, makes sure the whole thing runs smoothly. Lucky, lucky me.

So what do I do if everything’s great? Well, as with all nonprofits, there is always money to raise. I’ve got contracts to negotiate, production meetings to schedule, budgets to manage and the endless search for technical help. But I’ve got great help and a great city to do it in and I look forward to a prosperous and artistically fulfilling 2018-2019 season. Forward!

Julie Swenson, Managing Director