Springer Theatre Academy founder, director retiring
Aug 28, 2014
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Scooter MacMillan, marketing director
Springer Opera House
Springer Theatre Academy Founder, Director Retiring
Columbus, GA—8.28.2014: Tuesday night at the monthly meeting of the Springer board of directors, longtime associate artistic director Ron Anderson announced he was stepping down from his position at the end of this season.
Anderson, 62, serves as director of the Springer Theatre Academy and the Springer Children’s Theatre. Local audiences also know him as an actor – most notably as half of the cast of the Springer’s popular holiday comedy, “A Tuna Christmas.”
“It’s time,” said Anderson. “The Springer, its students and families have been my life since 1996. Including the five years of similar work in Milwaukee before I came here, that’s 23 years – 23 wonderful, productive, rewarding years of doing what I love most – serving children. I intend to give the Springer my all for another season and then it will be time for a younger, smarter, more creative person to take our children’s programs to the next level.”
During Anderson’s tenure, he founded the Dorothy W. McClure Springer Theatre Academy and took it from a modest operation with 135 registrations per year to one of America’s most dynamic theatre training programs with 1,000 registrations.
With a teaching philosophy of “life skills through stage skills,” Anderson designed the Springer Theatre Academy to encourage children to focus on collaboration and communication rather than competition and aggression. In addition, Anderson has built the Springer Children’s Theatre that gives students opportunities to practice their craft while working alongside professional actors.
The Springer Children’s Theatre’s ArtServe outreach program serves nearly 15,000 school children per year with special daytime performances, school workshops, study guides and classroom visitations.
Last November, the Springer opened the McClure Theatre following a successful $11.5 million capital campaign aimed primarily at expanding the capacity of the Springer Children’s Theatre and the Springer Theatre Academy.
“Today, the Springer audience is bigger, younger and more diverse and that’s because thousands of children – and their parents – have found our work essential to their lives,” said producing artistic director Paul Pierce. “All of that has been made possible through the influence of my friend and colleague, Ron Anderson.”
Anderson assured the Springer board that the growth of the Springer Theatre Academy will not wane following his departure next summer. “The Academy will accomplish great things over the next decade, expanding its scope, reach and vision,” he said. “There will be more classes and more students, new and imaginative programming, unique collaborations with other arts and educational organizations in the region, and national recognition for the unique work being done here.”
Anderson said he had no definite plans following his departure from the Springer.
“What I will do beyond next summer is unclear to me, except to say that I will focus on being a better father. I have been taking care of other people’s children for many, many years, somewhat at the expense of my own. It is time to bring that into balance.”
He also added that he and his family are not leaving Columbus. “We love Columbus – this is our home. And I’m not retiring from theatre – there is no such thing in my business. It’s very likely that I will appear as an actor or director on the Springer stages from time to time.”
Anderson said that although he doesn’t know what the future holds, he’s excited to find out what’s next. “Every day at the Theatre Academy we say to students, ‘Don’t be afraid; make a bold choice; trust your instincts.’ Well, that’s exactly what I am doing.”
“To say that we are going to miss Ron is an understatement,” said Barbara Kennon, chair of the Springer board of directors, said. “His love for the Springer and especially his Springer Theatre Academy students shows in everything he says and does.”
Pierce reported that a search for Anderson’s successor will begin immediately and will be complete by early spring. “It’s hard to imagine the Springer without Ron’s influence,” said Pierce. “These are pretty big shoes we’re looking to fill – literally and figuratively – so we’re not going to rush the search.”
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