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July 23, 2010

University of Minnesota Department of Theatre Arts & Dance Welcomes Thomas Proehl as new Producing Director

The University of Minnesota Department of Theatre Arts & Dance announces Thomas Proehl as the new Producing Director. He will be joining the department in August 2010, succeeding former Managing Director Sherry Wagner-Henry who left the department last November to become the Director of Graduate Programs in the U of M College of Continuing Education.

A native of Moorhead, MN, Proehl returns to the state after having served as Director of Administration and Operations at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, CA. Prior to that position, he worked as the Minnesota State Arts Board Executive Director. During his tenure, the Arts Board received a 19% increase in funding supporting artists, arts organization and art educators. Proehl was also the Managing Director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN. While at the Guthrie, he oversaw the construction of the new $125 million complex on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

Proehl holds a BA from Minnesota State University Moorhead, and a MFA from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He has served as a guest lecturer in the U of M/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program, the Performing Arts Management Program at Brooklyn College, and the Arts and Cultural Management Program at Saint Mary's University in Minneapolis. He has served on National Endowment for the Arts review panels; as an executive committee member of the League of Resident Theatres, and as a consultant and/or board member for numerous arts organizations across the country.

When asked about accepting this position, Proehl stated "I am honored to be joining my new colleagues in Theatre Arts and Dance at the U of M. I have always admired the U's commitment to research, education and community partnerships and have a great respect for the artists and arts groups that so selflessly contribute to the cultural community of the Twin Cities and the entire state of Minnesota. To say that I am excited to return to Minnesota is an understatement--it is a true privilege!"

As Producing Director, Proehl will be overseeing the department's Re-imagining Community Arts Partnerships (RiCAP) initiative. RiCAP explores the relationships between the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance and the performing arts community in which it is embedded. It focuses on the importance of creation and production to the department's educational and research mission and training of theatre and dance students--the next generation of artists and arts leaders--and how strong community partnerships could transform that mission. According to Department Chair Carl Flink, "I think Tom is an incredible addition to our department. His experience throughout Minnesota and beyond will be invaluable to our efforts to place public engagement and partnerships at the center of our theater and dance production activities."