Jonesborough Repertory Theatre is losing another artistic director as a consequence of marriage. Jonathan McCarter, who took over the position from newlywed Kathleen Buttolph in November 2009, turned in his notice in late June. His wife of “a hair over a month,” whom he met during his first production at JRT, has been accepted into law school in the Raleigh, N.C., area.
“He’s just crazy enough to follow her over there,” Town Administrator Bob Browning said with a laugh.
McCarter’s last day will be July 31 after the closing performance of the summer conservatory. The town of Jonesborough hopes to have his replacement on board soon because the 2011-12 season gets under way in August with the production of “God’s Favorite.” Though JRT regular Angus Walton will be directing, a number of tasks falls to the artistic director.
“There is a tremendous amount of detail that has to go into every production,” said Browning, who has appeared in several JRT productions. The artistic director supports the volunteer directors, making sure they get everything they need to produce a play. The AD also is charged with directing two plays each season. It’s a demanding job with a varied schedule.
“For the most part the director is around when there’s rehearsals going on, so they may be getting up early in the morning for a meeting with a sponsor, then they’re there until 11 o’clock at night,” Browning said. “Throw in the oversight of advertising, sponsors, casting and making sure the facility is being used. (JRT) very often has three productions in some form going on at the same time — auditions for one, another actually being performed and one in rehearsal.”
The town is advertising for the position, which currently pays $2,000 a month plus 25 percent of net revenue generated by productions up to a total compensation of $30,000 a year.
When Buttolph left in 2009 to accompany her new husband to Princeton, N.J., more than 30 applications were received from across the country. McCarter, who had been director of education and outreach for Opera Memphis, was unanimously chosen by the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Alderman.
Browning expects the selection process to remain the same. “The board of Mayor and Aldermen will ultimately make the decision. In the past, the town board has asked the JRT board to do the interviewing. I’m operating on the assumption they will be doing that again.”
The JRT Board met Tuesday night, and members expressed their appreciation for McCarter’s efforts.
Board member Sharon Squibb, who also has appeared in JRT productions during McCarter’s tenure, said, “he has been a joy to work with. He’s very cooperative, nice, mature and able to work with people so well. He was an incredible director in his own right. We’re going to miss him; he’s a jolly good fellow.”
For his part, McCarter said his leaving is bittersweet. He’s happy for his wife and their new life together but sorry to leave the community that “has embraced me like no other before. The repertory theatre has become very near and very dear to me in a short time.”