The executive director of the Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre, Kathleen Coudle-King, has announced her resignation.
Coudle-King, who will step down at the end of the year, has led the theater company, which stages productions at the 108-seat Fire Hall Theatre in downtown Grand Forks, for the past eight years.
This fall, she accepted a full-time teaching position in the UND English Department.
“It was too much to do both,” said Coudle-King, who also intends to pursue personal theater projects and will direct the “Love/Sick” show in January and February at the Fire Hall.
Though she’s leaving her part-time position with the GGFTC, she plans to continue supporting theater “for the foreseeable future and in different ways than I’ve been able to do in the past,” she said.
Coudle-King, who called her pending departure “bittersweet,” joined the GGFTC in 2011. She is credited with expanding the children’s program to include theater workshops, which take place during the school year and reintroducing a summer camp which has grown in popularity to include three sections in July.
She’s especially proud of the development of the children’s program which gives preschool and elementary schoolchildren the opportunity to perform on stage, an outlet not available to them during the school year, she said.
“I enjoyed working with those little ones so much,” she said. “They just grow in confidence; it’s a gift to watch that.”
During her tenure as executive director, Coudle-King has secured more than $250,000 in grants, in addition to private donations, to benefit the community theater’s programming, operations and physical plant.
She spearheaded an extensive fundraising effort to repair the brickwork of the Fire Hall, which was built in 1905.
“We restored the brick one by one,” she said. “We tuck-pointed every single brick on the building.”
She admits to being “pretty naive” when she launched the $94,000 project, but thankful that “people bought into my craziness.”
Under her leadership, the GGFCT received the Governor’s Biennial Award for Art Organization in 2013 and a Special Recognition Award in 2015 from the American Association of Community Theatres, primarily due to outreach programs such as “Warrior Words,” which involved adapting essays by U.S. veterans into stage plays and monologues, which were then toured by GGFCT actors around the state.
Coudle-King has taught part-time in the UND English Department since 1994.
She also leads community writing workshops and retreats and has taught creative writing workshops for children at the International Music Camp.
Jennifer Beck, who chairs the GGFTC 11-member board, said Coudle-King “has been an amazing asset to GGFCT and the Fire Hall Theatre, and has played a critical role in the thriving theater community Grand Forks enjoys today.”
The GGFCT, which is in its 72nd season, is seeking to fill the executive director position. The job description is available at www.ggfct.com. Applicants may send resume with cover letter to GGFCT.Firehall@gmail.com.