New direction

Theater Works executive director Dan Schay and artistic director Robyn Allen are pictured in the main auditorium.

Nick Cote/Today staff

Theater Works executive director Dan Schay and artistic director Robyn Allen are looking forward to a long working relationship with together with the company as they move toward the next level at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts.

“We really want to continue all of the excellent programming on the stage as well as the educational and outreach programs,” Shay said.

Last month, Schay replaced former executive director Jack Lytle, who retired from the position. And no one could be more excited about the new addition than Allen.

Allen and Schay worked together on the Phoenix Theatre staff. Since 2004, he served as executive director for the theater company and helped guide a major capital fundraising program.

“I couldn’t be happier that Dan joined us because he already knows what to do,” Allen said.

A graduate of Yale University, his other theater management experiences include leading the Sedona Cultural Park and Sedona Film Festival and the Philadelphia Drama Guild, a well as senior positions at theaters in Philadelphia and the Boston area.

Schay said he’s always respected Theater Works and its mission, intending to work closely with Allen as she’ll do the same.

“We really have a mutual understanding that both the business and artistic sides of the theater rely on one another,” Allen said.

In addition, Schay said Theater Works is on the rise in the Valley.

“There is a load of potential here, and I’m going to do my best help the theater rise to the top,” Schay said.

The theater, which was founded by David Wo, is transitioning into a professional company over the next several years.

And both Allen and Schay said they’re excited about taking the next step, but that doesn’t mean local artists won’t perform at Theater Works.

“We’re going to offer a broader range of things for artists both equity and non-equity, but that does not mean we’re going to import people from out of state all of the time,” Schay said. “The actors in our community are very important to us, too.”

As they work together, Schay said he and Allen will continue to add more options to the adult Master Works season and a variety of options for the youth program.

Allen, who also is an equity actress, said having Schay will help grow Theater Works further. She remembers when the theater used to perform in the “barn” at 67th Avenue and Thunderbird Road, far different from the state-of-the-art facility that now houses the performances.

“I never dreamed that we would be where we are now, but we are here and moving forward,” Allen said.

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