What IndyFringe is looking for in its next CEO

IndyFringe is in the market for somehow “to carry out our mission – advancing the performing arts year-round by creating access to a multitude of opportunities for artists, audiences, and our community to thrive.”

That person is needed following the resignation of Justin Brady, who has led the multi-faceted performing arts organization since the fall of 2020. He replaced Pauline Moffat, the long-time IndyFringe CEO who led IndyFringe as it became a major force in local theater.

Brady will leave his position on Jan. 31, with IndyFringe Associate Director Jeffrey Dalstrom to serve as interim executive director who the IndyFringe Board of Directors conducts a search.

In a press release, IndyFringe noted that Brady successfully navigated the organization through “the most difficult years anyone in the performing arts can remember.”

Brady is departing Indianapolis for the Berkshires region in Massachusetts to assume the role of director of development for the Berkshire Theatre Group.

To move forward after the second leadership change in just over two years, Bob DeVoss, the organization’s incoming board chair, said, “We are looking for someone who also brings an abiding passion for the arts, empathy for others and a commitment to their empowerment, and the ability to turn a vision into action.”

Outgoing IndyFringe board chair Rosemary Dorsa said the new CEO will take over a thriving organization that has deepened and broadened its artistic offerings in recent years. The annual IndyFringe Theatre Festival is the anchor, but IndyFringe also stages such other events as DivaFest, spotlighting women playwrights, and OnyxFest for Black playwrights. IndyFringe stages also serve organizations such as Catalyst Repertory and American Lives Theatre.

“Our vision has been to make Indianapolis the city of choice for top-tier theatrical talent to live and work,” she said, “and IndyFringe has become a significant incubator and hub for the kind of work that will make that possible.”

Said DeVoss, “We’re not only producing more theater – we’re producing bolder and more diverse theater. We’re growing our audience base and our talent base in a way that creates sustainability for both and will ultimately solidify Indianapolis’s reputation as a center for arts and culture in the Midwest.”

As proof, Brady and DeVoss point to changes in OnyxFest, which IndyFringe launched in 2011. Now, that fest is staged in partnership with the Africana Repertory Theatre of IUPUI (known as ARTI), and in 2023 will have both fall and fall iterations. The change, they say, was necessitated by the large number of high-quality submissions OnyxFest organizers received in 2022. This year’s OnyxFest recorded the largest audience in the festival’s history, and 2022 audiences for all IndyFringe performances exceeded 14,000, approaching 2019’s pre-pandemic record of more than 15,200.

PHOTO ABOVE: IndyFringe is headquartered at 719 E. St. Clair St., just off Mass Ave, in a former church which also houses two theaters – IndyFringe Basile Theatre and Indy Eleven Theatre, as well as the outdoor Play Ground at IndyFringe.