Kristine Thatcher, a member of the Victory Gardens Theater Playwrights Ensemble, was recently canned as artistic director of the BoarsHead Theater in Lansing, Michigan. Thatcher learned on May 28 that the BoarsHead board would not renew her contract, which expires August 31. Reportedly, the theater decided it could not afford two top-level staffers, and Thatcher was considered more expendable than executive director John Dale Smith. There’s a full account in the online arts guide Encore Michigan.
BoarsHead is one of three professional theaters in Michigan that recently announced they were letting go their top artistic executives. The state, not surprisingly, has been especially hard hit by the troubled economy, and BoarsHead has reportedly experienced a significant drop in financial support from foundations, businesses, and individuals.
Victory Gardens last premiered one of Thatcher’s plays in 2000, when Dennis Zacek directed Voice of Good Hope, Thatcher’s drama about pioneering African-American congresswoman Barbara Jordan. “Kristine Thatcher is that rare mainstream playwright who doesn’t think her audience is stupid,” wrote Reader critic Justin Hayford. Over the years, Thatcher has also proven herself a first-rate actor. Highlights of her stage career here range from playing Kate in a 1987 Taming of the Shrew at Oak Park Festival Theatre to co-starring with Michael Gross in Northlight Theatre’s local premiere of A.R. Gurney’s Later Life and appearing with her then-husband David Darlow in director Gary Griffin’s staging of Jon Robin Baitz’s Three Hotels at Apple Tree Theatre.