Arts has key role to play in bolstering state economy
ACTING OUT: David M. Wax, managing director of the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre, describe the organization’s work as “contemporary theater that’s thought-provoking and stimulating, plus some classics.”
When the board of directors of the Gamm Theatre looked for someone to replace former Executive Director Yvonne Seggerman, who went on a sabbatical in June and resigned in October, the focus turned to David Wax, with his extensive arts-management experience and his knowledge of the Gamm, gained while serving as a member, then president, of the board. Wax is also a member of the Rhode Island Council for the Arts.
"David’s selection is one of the easiest decisions we have ever made,” Gamm Theatre board President Sam Babbitt said recently in announcing Wax’s selection to succeed Seggerman.
PBN: You’ve been acting as executive director for several months. Now that you’ve been named to permanently fill the position [effective Nov. 30, 2012], which now has the title of managing director, what’s your first priority?
WAX: To provide resources to the artistic side of the theater, which I tremendously respect, so the Gamm can continue to do the kind of quality theater it does, and to do it on an ever-increasing level and to larger audiences. The kinds of plays we’re doing now, we’re not just getting regional notice, we’re getting national notice. We’re doing the American premier of a British play, “Anne Boleyn,” that was at the Globe Theater in London. This is no small deal for a 137-seat theater in a suburb of Providence. It shows the kind of work being done in the theater.
PBN: The Gamm does a wide variety of productions. Do you think it has a specialty or a niche?
WAX: Primarily, we do contemporary theater that’s thought-provoking and stimulating, plus some classics. That doesn’t mean it’s always serious. It can be very funny. We do Shakespeare. Our “Hamlet” last year sold more tickets than anything we’ve ever done. Our plays are not for people who just want to be entertained.