The Phoenix Theatre recently entered a new phase of its existence by moving into a sparkling new $11 million facility.
Now, it will continue its new phase without the most constant force in its 35-year history – Bryan Fonseca.
Last week, the Phoenix Board of Directors announced that Fonseca was no longer the theater’s artistic director, having been named the Phoenix’s “founder and producing director emeritus.”
It is the second change in title for Fonseca this year. In January, Fonseca turned many of his duties over to Kevin Kruse, who was named managing director after a nationwide search. That move, it was said at that time, freed up Fonesca to focus on the artistic product to be offered at the new theater.
Now, however, those duties will be handled by Bill Simmons, who most recently chaired the Phoenix capital campaign to fund the new facility.
“Bill is a longtime member of the Phoenix community, and I am proud to have given him the opportunity to bring his significant acting and directing talents to the Phoenix stage,” Fonseca said in a press release issued June 1. “I will always be grateful for his tireless efforts in leading the capital campaign that brought the Phoenix to this spectacular new facility. I wish him all the best on this new leg of the journey.”
The Phoenix Board also marked the action by renaming the main stage in Fonseca’s honor.
“For more than 35 years,” the press release noted, “Fonseca has poured his energy into an idea called the Phoenix Theatre. Under his leadership, that idea became a reality, broadened its mission, and created a new model for a cultural institution.”
In that press release, Fonseca said, “The board of directors believe that the institution now needs to redirect its energy to a solid fiscal focus. That there are other leaders more capable of putting their energies into meeting the remaining financial demands of the institution’s capital campaign and future operations. I am leaving to focus my creative energies elsewhere.”
During his tenure the Phoenix has grown to be a unique and valuable part of the Indianapolis arts community, providing an inclusive voice and focusing on issues of the day.
“Bryan dedicated his life and professional career to building a first-class theater that is also an integral part of the National New Play Network, offering world premieres of the work of important new playwrights,” said Phoenix Theatre Board President Frank Basile. “I can think of no more fitting honor and legacy than to name the stage in the Russell Theatre the Bryan Fonseca Stage,”
Added Fonseca, “I am proud of the Phoenix Theatre family of artists and what they’ve done to offer compelling, thoughtful, and challenging new works. As we’ve grown, so have our audiences and patrons. I am grateful to all our supporters and family.”