Northern Stage Managing Director Will Change Jobs This Month

  • Northern Stage Managing Director Eric Bunge will leave his current position to take a strategic planning role with the company at the end of the month. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, October 04, 2018

White River Junction — As Northern Stage’s new theater enters its fourth season, and the acting company’s programs and plant continue to grow, veteran managing director Eric Bunge will shed his day-to-day administrative role for a strategic-planning position at the end of this month.

“The organization has grown tremendously these last five years,” Bunge said during a telephone interview on Wednesday.

“It’s at a size and a scope where it doesn’t serve the organization well to have me addressing the usual fires that have to be put out day-to-day to bring the shows to the stage. … There’s no really good time to put toward the future.”

Future plans range from finding and creating physical space to accommodate the company’s growth to serving as a liaison between the company’s board of directors and artistic director Carol Dunne when setting long-term goals.

Bunge came to the Upper Valley from Minnesota, where he’d overseen the development of a new home for the Commonweal Theatre Company, in March 2013, a few weeks after Dunne had moved over from the New London Barn Playhouse to Northern Stage.

At that point, Northern Stage was still presenting plays at Briggs Opera House, while leaders were planning to convert the former Miller Auto dealership in downtown White River into the Barrette Center for the Arts.

By fall 2015, the company had built not only the Byrne Theatre for public performances, but a complex that also includes rehearsal space and administrative offices.

“The new building is a testament to (Bunge’s) expertise and care,” Dunne said in the company’s official announcement issued on Tuesday.

Bunge this past summer completed negotiations to buy the two-story, 5,800-square-foot building long occupied by Twin State Typewriter on South Main Street. The aim there, Bunge has said, is to establish offices for fundraising and development staff, and for the lighting and sound department.

Bunge also negotiated a lease of nearby apartments for use by visiting performers and backstage staff during the peak production season.

“We should be able to time these kinds of things in such a way that there’s continued, supported growth in programs, events and services, and also to build a strong staff in a way that doesn’t burn them out,” Bunge said.

“It’s important to have a working environment that allows all of us to do our very, very best.”

While Northern Stage’s board of directors determines how far to search for a new managing director, current associate managing Irene Green will handle day-to-day operations.

Green had previously worked with Bunge in Minnesota.

“Besides what he does every day, he’s brought many other things to Northern Stage, particularly community engagement,” Green said. “It’s now in the DNA of Northern Stage.”